Immediately after the first Dai-sesshin that Dokurō attended, Sasaki Rōshi accepted Dokurō’s invitation to visit his home town, Innsbruck, in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Dokurō started to regularly participate in long-term residential training with Sasaki Rōshi at Mt. Baldy Zen Center and was ordained a monk by Rōshi in 1989. The monk name Dokurō consists of the characters doku ( 獨 or 独, single, spontaneous) and rō ( 樓 tower). During the non-training times he continued his work as a classical musician in Austria, where he founded and led the local Zen Center in Innsbruck. He also helped Genro to run the various retreats across Austria and Germany.
Dokurō moved to the Boston area in 1994 and has been living in the area since then. In 2001 he and a group of other long time Zen students founded and incorporated Dharma Cloud Hermitage, now known as Charles River Zen. In April 2004 Sasaki Rōshi bestowed the title and rank of Oshō on Dokurō in a Suiji-shiki (Temple Dharma Transmission Ceremony) at the Rinzai-ji root temple in Los Angeles. Dokurō received the Oshō name Kyō ( 杏 Apricot) on ( 園 Garden), which incorporates the first character of Sasaki Rōshi’s Oshō name (杏山 Kyō-zan) and the second character of his dharma great-grandfather’s Oshō name ( 独園 Doku-on).
Jōshū Rōshi passed away in July 2014, he had retired from teaching in October 2013 and had stopped offering Dai-sesshin in early 2012. Since then, as part of his ongoing work and commitment to practice, Dokurō continues to study Rinzai Zen under the tutelage of Shinge Rōshi of the Zen Studies Society. Dokurō and Shinge Rōshi met first in 2010 at the Cambridge Buddhist Association, where Shinge Rōshi once studied under Maurine Stuart Rōshi. Dokurō has attended practice at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. As a Zen teacher in his own right, Dokurō has ordained Myōki M. McTighe, who is training in the Charles River Zen community.
Dokurō served for a number of years as the Buddhist Chaplain at Boston University and is currently a Buddhist Chaplain at Harvard University. From 2004 until 2011 he led the Zazen-kai at the Cambridge Buddhist Association (CBA) and served as the last Abbot of the CBA. Dokurō is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association, a peer organization of Zen teachers of various lineages, however, not a licensing or credentialing organization.
On November 25, 2017 Dokurō became Shinge Rōshi’s first Dharma Heir in a Dharma Transmission Ceremony, that was attended by the Rinzai-ji Abbot, Shunan Noritake Rōshi, who also gave the congratulatory words. As a holder of inka shōmei Dokurō is a fully authorized Rinzai Zen master. On November 29, 2020 Shinge-shitsu Roko Rōshi bestowed the title of Rōshi and the ‘room name’ of Chigan-kutsu in a Rōshi Entrustment Ceremony. Chi (智 wisdom) kan (鑑 mirror, example, model) kutsu (窟 cave, den) is the Sanzen room name given by Shinge Roshi.
Shūkō began formal Zen practice at the Cambridge Buddhist Association with Myō-on Chikō Maurine Stuart Rōshi in 1979. She met Jōshū Sasaki Rōshi in 1982 and has remained his student and actively engaged with the Rinzai-ji Zen community up until the present time. In 1998 she was ordained a Zen nun at Myoko-ni Sorin, Mt. Cobb, California. Her Dharma name is composed of the characters shū (秀 excel, excellence) and kō (洸 sparkle).
Shūkō and Dokurō met while training at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center and were married by Sasaki Rōshi in a Buddhist wedding ceremony in New York City in 1995. Shūkō was instrumental in the founding of Dharma Cloud Hermitage/Charles River Zen. In her professional life she is a clinical social worker with a private psychotherapy practice in the Boston area.