What is the Vine of Obstacles?


This online program offers Zen practice under the guidance of Zen teachers Dōshō Rōshi and Tetsugan Sensei (see bios here).

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 within the Vine container, and in the world.

Practitioners who are proactive, self-directed learners, inquisitive, reflective, open to feedback, possess good communication skills, and follow through with commitments, tend to acclimate best to the Vine environment. 

Process and participation requirements:

  • Zazen: Vine students are required to establish & maintain a consistent meditation practice. The baseline - barring vacation, illness, or other life-disrupting event - is to sit one hour a day, five out of seven days each week (in other words, 5 hrs/week or 300 minutes), with a focus on the breath (zuisokkan), the keyword method of kōan introspection, or another practice given to you by the teachers.
  • Regular practice meetings with the teachers
  • Weekly participation in the Engagement Forums is required. This is an important opportunity to engage and turn the dharma wheel together with the teachers and other Vine students.
  • Study selected works, emphasizing classical teaching sources, through group study and participation in practice periods and/or training intensives
  • Sunday dharma talks
  • Retreats, sesshin, and solo retreats


Tuition is $125 a month (plus the 3% PayPal fee), and includes the study practice on the Vine, access to Engagement Forums, and regular meetings with the teachers.

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 insights. 

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

    Fall Intensive 2022

    The Awakening of Mahayana Faith "... details the various modes of the expression of One Mind and in the process, explains the nature of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and various means to that end."

    Summer Interim 2022: 

    In this course we will dive deeply into Dōgen Zenji's instructions for practitioners and study the commentary of one of the great Sōtō teachers from the 20th Century, Gien Inoue Roshi. 

    Supporting each other through integrity and transparency.  


    Exploring the dynamic function of the Zen precepts.

    From Asanga's Bodhisattva Stages. 

    Steeping in the Zen awakening narrative of Xutang. 

    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.