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This is a brief and very much incomplete "family tree" of the various traditions found in America today. The Zen tradition begins in early Medieval China and from there branched throughout East Asia. As it moved from country to country the style changed, adapting to local conditions, although both the lineage itself and the deeper goal of awakening continued. Today many of these Zen streams have flowed to North America. Most are represented among the AZTA membership.

Chinese Chan

The Chinese Zen tradition, the original stream, first came to North America in the nineteenth century with laborers who built among other things the intercontinental railroad. Remains of “joss” houses still exist on the West coast, as do continuing Buddhist monasteries. Chinese Buddhism has hybridized various Buddhist schools, principally the Pure Land and Chan. While the lineages continue, most Chinese communities do not emphasize Chan practice as a separate thread. There are exceptions.

The principal Chan line in North America are:

The lineage of Master Sheng Yen

Korean Son

Many lines of the Chogye Order and the Taego married monk tradition have made their way to North America.

The principal Korean lines in North America are

The lineage of Master Samu Sunim

The lineage Master Seung Sahn

The lineage of Ven. Dr. Jongmae Park

Vietnamese Thien

There are several branches of the Thien tradition in North America

The largest of these, the Order of Interbeing established by Master Thich Nhat Hanh appears to have chosen not to continue authorizing teachers as independent lineage holders in favor of a more inclusive emphasis on the Order itself.

Japanese Zen

There are three traditional streams of Japanese Zen, Rinzai, Obaku and Soto. In addition a modern lay reform tradition the Harada/Yasutani has had enormous influence in the West.

The principal Rinzai lines are

The lineage of Master Tekio Sogen Omori

The lineage of Master Joshu Sasaki

The lineage of Master Eido Tai Shimano

The principal Soto lines are

The lineage of Master Dainin Katagiri

The lineage of Master Jiyu Kennett

The lineage of Master Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi

The lineage of Master Shunryu Suzuki

Also various lines based in the teachings of Kodo Sawaki

The principal Harada Yasutani lines are

The lineage of Master Robert Aitken

The lineage of Master Ruben Habito

The lineage of Master Philip Kapleau

The lineage of Master John Tarrant

Hybrid schools: One of the first hybrid schools to emerge is Boundless Way Zen, which combines the Harada/Yasutani koan lineage, an ordained Soto linege and and Korean Son lineage.