What is the Vine of Obstacles?


This online program offers Zen practice under the guidance of Zen teachers Dōshō Rōshi, Tetsugan Sensei (see bios here, listen to talks here), and assistant teacher, Ed Gōshin.

The Vine is designed for those who are determined to awaken (kensho) and actualize the great matter of life and death (post-kensho training). And who aren’t shy about it.

Our primary avenues for cultivating verification are daily zazen, study, and engagement in the Vine forums and in the world. Students who have some history of in-person practice tend to acclimate best to the Vine environment. 

Process and participation requirements:

  • Zazen: One-hour of daily sitting, five out of seven days each week, is the standard, focused on the breath or the keyword method of kōan introspection 
  • Regular practice meetings with one of the teachers
  • Weekly participation in the Engagement forums are an important opportunity to engage with the teachers and other students as a group
  • Study selected works, emphasizing classical teaching sources, through group study and participation in practice periods and/or intensives
  • Sunday dharma talks
  • Retreats, sesshin, and solo retreats


Tuition is $125 a month and includes the study practice on the Vine and regular meetings with one of the teachers.

Application or more information

Contact vineofobstacleszen@gmail.com for more information and for an application.

    Available courses

    This forum highlights the most important aspect of Vine work - living congruently with our dharma intentions and insight. 

    From Asanga's Bodhisattva Stages. 

    Steeping in the Zen awakening narrative of Xutang. 

    This workshop has resources for beginners and more "advanced" students. You are invited to play into it. 

    This twelve-week session is for students who aspire to fully awaken, and can make and keep practice commitments.

    During this four week interim we will review the last four texts we've studied - Harmony of Difference and Sameness; Dogen's Extensive Record; Awesome Presence of Active Buddhas; and Dahui's Letters. 

    The Letters of Chan Master Dàhuì Pǔjué:

    Summer Study

    June 1 - August 25


    • one hour of daily zazen five days a week. 
    • read the daily selection from "Awesome Presence of the Active Buddha" and student reflections
    • comment on at least one student reflection each week
    • set aside other dharma reading and focus on "Awesome Presence of the Active Buddha"
    • find ways to make the teaching alive in your life

    Every Monday through the twelve weeks, Dosho or Ed G will post a talk on one of the Dogen's dharma talks. Tuesday-Friday students will take turns taking one of Dogen's dharma talks and either posting a 300 word max reflection (what is the meaning of this in my practice?) or a 5-10min video presentation addressing the same question.

    Summer 2019 Study Focus