Sherry Chayat

Year of birth : 1943
Education : Vassar College
Website :


" Become the person of no rank. Become the noble soul, and live in this awakened way, not imitating anyone. Whatever the circumstances your life asks of you, respond to them in your own individual Zen-spirited way. ”

Books by the Master

'' Life Lessons: The Art of Jerome Witkin '' ... '' Circle: the zen brushwork of Kazuaki Tanahashi ''


Shinge-shitsuRoko Sherry Chayatis the current abbot of the Zen Studies Society, based at the International Dai BosatsuZendoKongo-jimonastery. She is also the abbot of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji.

She read her first book on Zen Buddhism while in the eighth grade, and decided she would one day study it abroad. During the 1960s, while attending college at Vassar College, she began an informal study of Buddhism by reading works by D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and many others. She studied art at the New York Studio School for Drawing and Painting.

In 1967 she joined the Zen Studies Society in New York, training under Eido Tai Shimano, Haku'unYasutani and Soen Nakagawa—and was married to Lou Nordstrom by Shimano and Yasutani. She received the Dharma name Roko (meaning sparkling dew). The couple moved to Syracuse and Sherry Chayat left Zen Studies Society in middle seventies. She joined a small sitting group that had been founded in 1972 by some Syracuse University graduate students and later became the group's leader.

She was reordained by Eido Shimano Roshi in 1991. In 1992 she was given teaching permission and then received Dharma transmission in 1998 from Shimano. She was the first American woman to receive transmission in the Rinzai school of Buddhism. On October 12, 2008, after a 10-year process of advanced training culminating in a ceremony called shitsugo, she received the title of roshi and the name Shinge (“Heart/Mind Flowering") from EidoRoshi. It was the first time that this ceremony was held in the United States.

Sherry Chayat was installed as the second Abbot of Dai BosatsuZendoKongo-ji on New Year's Day 2011