Presentation of the Association AZI

Zen temple La Gendronniere ( France )

Origins and development

The International Zen Association (AZI) was created by Master Deshimaru in the 70s. After his death, most of his disciples continued to work together, to teach, to open places of practice and monasteries, and to take care of the mother temple, the Gendronnière. Working together in this way for almost 40 years allowed them to grow together, like a great sangha.

Towards the end of the 90s, the ties with the Japanese Soto zen school were strengthened, leading to the opening of an administrative office in Paris in 2006. Collaborative projects were developed, such as the celebration of «40 Years of Zen in Europe» at the Gendronnière zen temple in 2007. Most of AZI’s teachers now have links with Japanese zen, with the goal of developing an enriching spiritual and intercultural cooperation.

Today, it is the oldest and largest Zen association in Europe. It brings together many teachers – most of whom were close disciples of Master Deshimaru – and practitioners. All work together, in various capacities, to firmly root Sôtô Zen Buddhism in the West. Thus they follow through on the momentum given by its founder.

The International Zen Association brings together several hundred places of practice (temples, Zen centres, dojos and groups). One of its main activities is to help and support these centres for which they are responsible.

It manages and maintains the Gendronnière Zen temple, organising there sesshins, summer sessions, training periods, conferences and events that gather together practitioners from all over the world.

For its members, the IZA publishes the magazine Zen (yearly) and the news bulletin Sangha (three issues a year), both of which are translated into several languages.


Richness of the sanghas

Currently, various sanghas coexist within AZI. They are led by Master Deshimaru’s old disciples, who chose different approaches based on their sensibilities: some focus on study, others on rituals, monastic life or even a form of iconoclastic spontaneity. Each one of those paths is highly respectable, and their richness enables all practitioners to find a teacher and a sangha who will help them deepen their practice. In fact, it reflects the diversity of life itself.

Many «first generation» teachers gave the Dharma transmission to their advanced disciples, as it’s been done since the Buddha’s time. Practitioners are now starting to gather around those disciples, which is a good indication of the vitality of our school.

L'ensemble des maîtres et des sanghas sont répertoriés ICI.


  • PRESIDENT : Olivier Reigen Wang-Genh
  • VICE-PRESIDENTS : Gérard Chinrei Pilet, Simone Jiko Wolf, Raphaël Doko Triet
  • GENERAL SECRETARY : Nuria Ringetsu Roca
  • VICE-SECRETARIES: Emanuela Dosan Losi, Marie Sangin
  • TREASURER : Sébastien Senko Magnin
  • ASSISTANT TREASURER: Jean-Marc Kukan Delom, Patrick Kankyo Ferrieux


In 2007, a spiritual association was created: the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of the Gendronnière temple (AZG). It is mainly responsible for the «Remembrance Garden» at the Gendronnière, and for various aspects having to do with ceremonies and rituals. It can receive tax deductible donations, which play an important role in the spread of zen in Europe.

Please enquire about the advantages of making a donation to the azg.