The International Zen Dojo of Wisconsin was founded in 1982 as a Betsuin (branch temple) of Chozen-ji in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
Daihonzan Chozen-ji was established in 1972 by Omori Sogen Rotaishi, a direct Dharma successor of the Tenryu-ji lineage of Rinzai Zen. He was also a successor of Yamaoka Tesshu’s Taishi School of Calligraphy and of the Jikishinkage School of fencing. In 1979, Omori Rotaishi established Daihonzan Chozen-ji as the main temple and headquarters of a new line of Zen with his Dharma successor, Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi, as the abbot. Tanouye Rotaishi was a martial artist of extraordinary abilities; he held certificates of mastery in seven martial arts. Both Greene Roshi and Kushner Roshi received inka shomei (“mind stamp” designating them as Zen Masters) from Tanouye Rotaishi. Whitelaw Roshi received her inka shomei from Greene Roshi.
The Chozen-ji School of Zen emphasizes the primacy of ki-ai (vital or spiritual energy) in everything one does. Ki-ai is developed through intense body/mind practice known as shugyo (sometimes referred to as “spiritual forging”). Also central to the Chozen-ji School is the integration of Zen training with training in the martial and fine arts. This integration is expressed in Japanese saying “Zen, Ken, Sho”. Zen refers to zazen and traditional temple practices such as chanting and manual labor. Ken is the Japanese word for sword and, thus, it refers generically to the martial arts. Sho means “writing” (as in calligraphy) in Japanese; here, it refers broadly to the fine arts. While all Chozen-ji students are expected to practice zazen, most also will practice a martial art and a fine art.
The central tenets of the Chozen-ji School of Zen were articulated by Omori Rotaishi is the Chozen-ji Canon.