Introducing ZPI Affiliate: Rocky Mountain Zen – Edmonton & Lethbridge

To strengthen our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups.    

Join us here on the Hive to explore some of the offerings of the organizations affiliated with ZPI.

Introducing a new ZPI affiliate group:

Rocky Mountain Zen

Edmonton & Lethbridge


What is your Mission?

Rocky Mountain Zen seeks to support activities that inspire, train, and mobilize those conducting humanitarian, peace-building, social, and civic action based on the sixteen traditional Bodhisattva precepts and the Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemakers: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action.

Where is your organization based?

Edmonton and Lethbridge, ALBERTA, Canada.

How many regular members do you serve?


Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?

There is very little organized Zen practice in Western Canada. Those who came together to form Rocky Mountain Zen were very interested in reaching out to ZPI and working with the network of practitioners.


How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement?

Rocky Mountain Zen is a very new community. However, it is one that has drawn together socially engaged persons from different walks of life. We are an open community. We are a community that has an interest in reconciliation with our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit brothers and sisters. We are exploring methods of action to reach out to our community.

What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?

We are a new community, working on foundational matters such as incorporation as a non-profit and finances. However, simultaneously, we are exploring outreach as socially engaged Buddhists. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be to effectively develop connections in our community and beyond.

Your main website URL:

Main contact: Ryugen (Aaron) Roth, email:

Ryugen Roth is the current facilitator of Rocky Mountain Zen. Ryugen received Jukai from Rev. Domyo Burk at Brightway Zen, and on August 26, 2021, he was ordained as a novice Zen priest/monk by his teacher Rev. Gyokei Yokoyama. Ryugen previously studied to be a Roman Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Edmonton and attended St. Joseph’s Seminary from 2004-2007. He served as a chaplain in the Canadian Armed Forces while in seminary. He has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Alberta as well as in Theological Studies from Newman Theological College. He is also a third-dan in Gohaku-kai Karate-Do and recently completed training as a 200-Hour Yoga Instructor.


Rev. Gyokei Yokoyama is Ryugen’s guiding teacher. Yokoyama-sensei is the secretary of the Soto Zen Buddhism North America Office (a branch of the Sōtōshū in Japan). He trained at Eiheiji Monastery and has previously served at Sozenji Temple in Montebello, California, in addition to being the Minister of Long Beach Buddhist Church. Yokoyama-sensei has spent many years in Canada and is hoping to return in the near future to continue his mission of bringing Zen to Canada.

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Introducing ZPI Affiliate: Rocky Mountain Zen – Edmonton & Lethbridge

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