Frank De Waele Roshi
Frank De Waele Roshi, as Dharma successor of Genno Pagès Roshi as well as Bernie Glassman Roshi, is a certified Zen master in the Soto Zen tradition.
Frank Roshi lives in Ghent at the Zen Sangha zendo, where he works full-time as a Zen teacher in residence. He also founded a dozen local Zen Sangha groups.
After his studies at the Sint-Lucasinstituut in Ghent, Frank (°1957) worked in museums in Venice, Brussels and Ghent, for VRT radio and taught painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leuven. Attracted by the spirituality of Zen, he began meditation in 1986 in the sangha of Master Deshimaru. He also practiced with Dutch Zen teacher Ton Lathouwers.
In 1991 Frank met French Zen teacher Catherine Genno Pagès Roshi, the first Dharma successor of American Zen teacher Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi and spiritual director of the Dana Sangha and became her disciple. Three years later, he took Buddhist vows and moved to her center near Paris. He combined his intensive teaching training and meditation practice with volunteer work for the Peacemaker Community, an interfaith network for spirituality and social change run by American Zen teacher Bernie Glassman Roshi.
Genno Roshi trained Frank as a meditation and koan teacher in the course of his residential Zen training. In 2002, he returned to Belgium where, under her supervision, he helped expand Dana Sangha Belgium, whose guidance he took up. On July 23, 2005, Frank received dharma transmission (Jap. shiho) from Genno Roshi, making him a qualified Zen teacher (Jap. sensei) in the White Plum Sotozen lineage of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi.
In 2006, Dana Sangha Belgium was transformed into an independent sangha with a new name and logo and its own programming. In the renewed Zen Sangha, Frank De Waele Roshi assumes spiritual leadership and priestly functions, teaches Zen and provides (individual) guidance to practitioners. He started local Zen Sangha groups, developed a broad program and teaches in Dutch, French and English.
Frank Roshi is known for his original and inspiring Zen teaching (Jap. teisho). Besides more classical forms of Zen training (zazen, koan, sesshin, liturgy, vows, etc.), Frank Roshi also likes to offer „newer“ practices such as street retreats, listening circles, study groups, walking tours, and workshops on art. Unique is the training on Zen priesthood for lay people that he designed and offers.
Frank Roshi was heavily involved for many years with Zen Peacemakers International, which he helped found as a founding teacher in Europe in 2003. He often worked with Bernie Roshi, whom he first met at the Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz in 1996. During the street retreat in New York in April 2011, Frank also received transmission from Bernie, becoming his dharma successor.
In 2015, Frank De Waele Roshi received final recognition in the dharma (inka) of both his teachers in Krakow.
Together with Irène Bakker Sensei, Frank De Waele Roshi is Spirit Holder of Zen Peacemakers Sangha Lage Landen (ZPS LL).
He himself gave dharma holding (J. hoshi) to Bieke Vandekerckhove (†2015) and to Stan Weyns.
Nationally and locally, Frank Roshi is also deeply involved in interfaith dialogue. For more than fifteen years he has been active in the Ghent Interfaith Working Group.
From pastoral care for the dying, he started an open group Life and Dying that regularly brings together volunteers in palliative care. Frank Roshi is also the initiator of the Ghent Buddha Day and of the Green Circle, a workshop for ecodharma.
Within the Buddhist Union of Belgium, he is a member of the Ethics Commission. He also organizes the socially engaged inspiration days there.
Frank Roshi designed and led multi-day art tours (Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Assisi, Chartres, Cologne) and workshops in meditative art contemplation (Ghent, Giverny, Provence, Lisbon, London, Helsinki, Otterlo). In the sangha, Frank Roshi regularly organizes contemplative art visits.
Frank Roshi draws and enjoys fine art, reading, hiking and street retreats. He is married to Alexandra Mushin Gericke Sensei, Zen teacher and dharma successor of Genpo Roshi. Together they have two daughters, Hannia and Sanne.
Together with Svenja Wildflower Hollweg, he developed the Ecoretreat in the Rhenish lignite mining area in 2022 and participated as Spirit Holder.
Frank Roshi on a Streeretreat in Brussels,
foto Jo Voet