The umbrella foundation IZI and the International Zen Center Noorder Poort were founded by Zen master Gesshin Myoko Prabhasa Dharma (1931-1999).
Born in Germany as Gisela Midwer, she lived the main part of her life in California. There, she trained for years under the Japanese Zen master Joshu Sasaki, who ordained her as a nun and teacher with the names Gesshin Myoko: Moon-Heart Wondrous-Light.In 1981 she formally left Joshu Sasaki and his sangha.
In 1981 she met the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Man Giac. In 1985 he bestowed upon her the ‘Great Dharma Mind Seal Transmission’ or inka and she became Prabhasa Dharma: Brilliant Dharma, the 45th generational heir of the Vietnamese Lam Te (Rinzai) Zen Lineage.
From 1980 until her death Prabhasa Dharma, Zenji trained Zen students in the U.S.A. and Europe. She developed a form of Zen practice that is not bound to any country or culture, although she maintained some elements of both Vietnamese and Japanese Zen.
Prabhasa Dharma, Zenji was also a great artist, known for her prolific poetry, and for her calligraphies.
“You all know that I come from the Zen Buddhist tradition. But when we follow a spiritual path and we go it all the way until the end, until the root of things, then we all arrive at the same source: the source of all that is. That is the Way of Zen.” – International Zen Institute