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Our Zen practice helps us realize: everyone is a teacher. All sentient beings - birds and trees, cabbages and worms - teach us when we have the eyes to hear and the ears to listen.Even bricks and tiles, pebbles and streams preach the dharma.
      We need to remedy a record of Zen lineages which historically only listed male priests. Recently, Soto Zen sanghas have begun including women ancestors. At OMZ Sacramento we want to also honor our lay ancestors. Identifying our lay ancestors is a work in progress. You can find biographies of important lay practitioners, dating back to the time of Shakyamuni, along with a list of women ancestors and the traditional Soto lineage on our Ancestors page.
      At OMZ, all positions are open to any practitioner willing to undergo the training for that position. On a practical level, we acknowledge some people have more practice experience than others and can offer guidance. When we are having difficulties, we need to deal with the questions and conflicts which inevitably arise. When we have personal problems - and at OMZ we recognize Zen practice does not by itself automatically free us from our conditioned psychological issues - it helps to talk with a person who has some training in responding skillfully. So we do identify teachers and practice leaders. The current guiding teacher at OMZ Sacramento is Robert Rosenbaum, assisted by other long-time practitioners.
      The quotations below express some helpful perspectives and teachers and students.
The little child learns to speak, though it has no learned teachers - because it lives with those who know how to speak.
- Chuang Tzu
If a person follows the mind they've been given and makes it their teacher, then who can be without a teacher?
      Why must you comprehend the process of change and form your mind on that basis before you can have a teacher?
- Chuang Tzu
True people teach without a word
They are themselves,
so act without exerting effort.
No placing claims, no holding on
no merit and no fault.
- Tao Te Ching
Decheng abruptly left Mount Yao and lived on the river. There he produced a successor… The disciple seeing Decheng is Decheng. Decheng guiding his disciple is meeting a true person.
      Is this not catching a fish, catching a person, catching water, or catching the self? Furthermore there is catching the self, catching catching, being caught by catching, and being caught by the way.
- Eihei Dogen
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          Robert, Sojun Roshi, Master Hui Liu
About Robert

Robert has been practicing Zen since 1972 but it was not until 1989 that he found his root teacher, Sojun Mel Weitsman, at Berkeley Zen Center. Robert received lay entrustment in Soto Zen from Sojun in 2010, and founded a Zen group in the Sierra foothills shortly afterwards. Robert is one of the founding members of the Lay Zen Teachers Association. At the invitation of Karen Terzano he has been a visiting teacher at the Ordinary Mind Zen sangha in Finland. In 2019 Robert received denkai from Karen to offer precepts as a teacher within Ordinary Mind Zen. Robert is currently working to develop an Ordinary Mind Zen practice community in Sacramento, California. Robert's dharma name is Meikyo Onza - "Clear Mirror, Calm Sitting."
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Robert with Karen Terzano
Robert began learning Dayan Qigong from Master Hui Liu in 1990 and was in the first group of teachers authorized by Master Hui Liu. Robert then brought Dayan Qigong to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center's Health Education program, where it has flourished. At the request of Master Liu Robert taught Dayan Qigong at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. He now carries on Master Liu's legacy as a senior teacher at the Wen Wu School and offering annual workshops a Kripalu Yoga Center (in Massachusetts) and to his ongoing students in Melbourne, Australia and Lammi, Finland.
Lay Ancestors and Zen Lineage
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In Muktinath, Hindus and Buddhists share many of the same temples. Outside the temples are rows upon rows of prayer wheels.

At the end of one row, a milk container is reincarnated to serve as a prayer wheel, replacing one that was damaged in a storm. Empty of its original contents, completely ordinary, it holds a scripture and turns the wheel of the dharma along with all the traditional prayer wheel - a fitting image for Ordinary Mind Zen.

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Above are pictures of some of the people Robert encountered during his journeys in the Nepal Himalayas - all of them teachers.