About Des Moines Zen Center
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The Des Moines Zen Center was established in 1992. It follows Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist principles. An initial workshop presented by Rev. Nonin Chowaney, Abbot of the Nebraska Zen Center, marked the inception of the group which began to sit regularly at the Thoreau Center on Kingman Boulevard in Des Moines.
04In August of 2000, Rev. Zuiko Redding of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center and Rev. Shoken Winecoff of Ryumonji Zen Monastery near Decorah came to Des Moines to help a few members of the Des Moines Zen Center prepare for lay ordination by sewing small ceremonial robes called rakusus. The following year, with the rakusus completed, Shoken led the lay ordination ceremony called jukai at the Thoreau Center. Eventually in 2001, the sangha outgrew its space and moved to an apartment in the Drake area. By 2010, the group had moved again to the South of Grand area.
The Des Moines Zen Center owes a debt of gratitude to the generosity of many Zen teachers. Initially, several Des Moines Zen Center members traveled to Omaha to participate in sesshins with Nonin, and Nonin came to Des Moines to lead sesshins. Several members have now developed a deep affiliation with Ryumonji Zen Monastery, with members going there to practice, and Shoken coming to Des Moines to guide and support the sangha. The head priest of the Des Moines Zen Center, Eido Espe, is a dharma heir to Shoken.
Rev. Eido Bruce Espe is the resident priest at the Des Moines Zen Center. He is also Ino at Ryumonji Zen Monastery in Dorchester, Iowa.Eido was born and raised in a small town in central Iowa. He discovered Zen after serving in the Army and a tour of duty in Vietnam. Married with two grown children and two grandchildren, he resides in Des Moines with his wife Judy, a pediatric intensive care physician. Retired from a career as a hospice nurse, he now devotes his time to his practice as a priest.
Eido is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Dainin Katagiri Roshi. In 1997, Eido received ordination. In 2010, he received Dharma transmission from his teacher Shoken Winecoff and completed zuise at Eiheiji Monastery and Sojiji Monastery in Japan.