great ocean zen is a small soto zen buddhist center located at the head of pigeon hill bay in maine surrounded by a thousand acres of maritime forest and ocean tides.

we are an affiliate sangha of sanshin zen community in bloomington, indiana, whose abbot is shohaku okumura, roshi, senior priest, a known author, teacher, former director of the soto zen international center in san francisco, and one of the foremost translators of the works of eihei dogen zenji, the founder of the soto school of zen buddhism.

here at gozc we practice zazen, “just sitting” meditation (shikantaza), and study the ancient teachings of shakyamuni buddha and eihei dogen zenji. in doing so, we learn to actualize their wisdom of “being together with all beings” through our everyday activities in the practice styles of kosho uchiyama roshi and his dharma heir, shohaku okumura roshi.

my name is rev. joshu judith toland, ordained soto priest, disciple of okumura-roshi, and founder of great ocean zen community. i chose the name “great ocean” for our center because in buddhist texts it can be a metaphor for “the universe filled with a myriad of things”, or a vessel containing wisdom & compassion, or “the buddha way”, it can also be used to refer to the “self”.

"dogen zenji teaches us in his work titled genzokoan, (a chapter of his master work, shobogenzo):

to study the buddha way is to study the self.

to study the self is to forget the self.

to forget the self is to be recognized by all beings.

to be recognized by all beings is to let the body and

mind of the self and the body and mind of others

drop off..."

if we drop the “ego mind”, the “i” of the self, and learn to be together with others by practicing the mind of non-discrimination, non-judgment, non-separate self, impermanence and interdependent co-existence, we discover our true reality.

in gassho (hands held together in a show of respect),

rev. joshu judith toland, phd