top of page
So many Buddhas_edited.png

About Us

The New York Zen Community for Dōgen Study (NYZC for Dōgen Study) is a sangha that practices shikantaza zazen and actively promotes the study of Eihei Dōgen’s teachings.

Founded by Rev. Issan Koyama, a disciple of Shōhaku Okumura Rōshi, the NYZC for Dōgen Study is devoted to making Dōgen’s teachings accessible to Western practitioners intent on applying them to daily life.


Eihei Dōgen (1200 ~ 1253) is the founder of the Sōtō Zen School of Japan.  His teaching and practice have been handed down to us by teachers such as:


Menzan Zuihō (1683 – 1769) 

Bokusan Nishiari (1821 – 1910) 

Kōdo Sawaki (1880 - 1965) a.k.a. Homeless Kodo

Kōshō Uchiyama (1912 – 1998) Former abbot of Antai-ji in Kyoto

Shōhaku Okumura (1948 - ) Founder of Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, IN


With access to a large library of primary Buddhist texts and authentic commentaries on Dōgen’s writings by eminent Buddhist teachers, Issan offers lectures accompanied by original translations and rare insights from previously untranslated commentaries. 


Issan is fluent in Japanese and English and able to read original Japanese and Chinese texts and present them in a way that highlights their immediate relevance to contemporary life.


For detailed information, please visit the “Our Practice” page


The New York Zen Community for Dōgen Study’s programs are offered free of charge.

Rev. Issan Koyama

Issan Koyama is an officially registered Buddhist priest of the Soto Zen School of Japan and is endorsed by Shōhaku Okumura Rōshi (founder of the Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, Indiana) and Tekifu Honda Rōshi (late abbot of Myōko-ji in Hakata, Japan and a student of Kōdō Sawaki).


Born in Kamakura, Japan in 1955, Issan came to New York as a newspaper and television journalist in 1983 after working in Paris, France for 2 years.


During the early years of the AIDS epidemic, Issan trained in end-of-life care and became a full-time hospice chaplain in New York City. He also co-founded and managed a medical facility in Japan with residences for geriatric and palliative care patients as well as family clinics.


Issan currently divides his time between the US and Japan where he continues to study with prominent Dōgen teachers.


Issan’s work as a journalist and hospice professional have been featured in The New York Times, Asahi Shimbun, PBS Morning Edition and StoryCorp’s book, Callings.

2013-04-22 15.40.21.jpg
Michele and Deer.jpg
Michele Sevik

Michele Sevik was born in State College, PA to parents who had recently immigrated to the US. Her mother was born and raised in France and spoke only French so French was Michele’s first language. Her father was from Istanbul, Turkey, spoke 5 languages fluently and worked as an engineer. Since they had no family in the US, summers were spent in Turkey with frequent visits to France.

Michele has a BS in physics and worked as a science editor and copywriter for AMSCO School Publications, MacMillan Publishing Company and McGraw-Hill in New York City. After moving to Spencer, NY in the early 90s, she worked in nursing homes as a CNA and began practicing at a nearby Rinzai Zen Center. After that, she moved to Vermont to live alone in the mountains with dogs. In 2021, she stumbled upon Shohaku Okumura: My Good for Nothing Life on Youtube and found the New York Zen Community for Dōgen Study. She immediately joined all the classes offered by Rev. Issan Koyama and began sitting zazen with the Sangha on zoom. Once Covid fears diminished, she began traveling to NYC for special Sangha events where she met Yuko Okumura and was introduced to nyohō-e. In 2024, she took part in the first Dōgen Pilgrimage Japan Tour. She helps by transcribing lectures and over time has become a trusted editor and interpreter of Rev. Koyama’s writing projects.

Catherine Jishin Amendolara

Catherine has worked in healthcare for 30 years as a physical therapist and since 2015 as a geriatric care specialist. She has studied and practiced with Rev. Issan Koyama and Shōhaku Okumura Rōshi since 2017.  In 2022 she received precepts from Okumura Rōshi at Sanshin-ji. Catherine takes care of “tangaryo” for the "NYZC for Dogen Study" and responds to inquiries from those wishing to join our programs.

bottom of page