MISSION STATEMENT: The purpose of the American Zen Teachers Association is to foster dialogue among Zen Buddhist teachers and to provide access to information about Zen Buddhist practice and teaching.
The American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA) is a loosely structured peer group, whose members come from the diverse Buddhist tradition commonly referred to as Zen. The AZTA includes teachers ordained or lay, from all of the traditional lineages – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese – and its members are mostly but not exclusively from North America.
Through its annual meeting and listserv, the AZTA provides a forum for discussion of issues that arise from or affect Zen teaching. It also serves as a means to connect with colleagues beyond the bounds of lineage and geography and to offer one another support in a variety of ways. Communications within the AZTA listserv and meetings are held in confidence, and the AZTA does not take organizational positions on public issues or claim to speak on behalf of the greater American Zen community.
The AZTA does not authorize or credential teachers; it isn't the AZTA’s function to decide whether or not someone is qualified to teach Zen. Instead, its membership criteria are intended to ensure that new members possess a body of experience sufficient to make them true peers to fellow members and valuable participants in AZTA interactions.
If you're looking for a Zen teacher or a Zen center where you can practice, the AZTA Centers list may be a good place to start. Please bear in mind, however, that it's far from comprehensive. It omits teachers who haven't chosen to apply, former members, members who wish to remain anonymous, and people who don't satisfy our minimum standards for membership.
If you wish to join the AZTA, please see the membership page for information on how to apply.
Activities of AZTA
History and Function of AZTA
For an outline of the various Schools of Zen in America see the Traditions page