In May Zen teacher Genjo Marinello Osho opened the ceremony installing Rinzan Pechovnik as a full temple priest by saying, “We are here to celebrate and acknowledge something that has already happened.”
The ceremony was a big step for Pechovnik and for No-Rank Zendo in Portland, which Pechovnik founded and where he teaches. On May 27th Genjo Osho acknowledged the sufficiency of Rinzan’s training by installing him as Osho, or full temple priest.
Pechovnik’s services at No-Rank Zendo includes leading meditations and longer retreats, and offering dharma interviews and talks. The No-Rank Zendo Sangha continues to grow as members undertake their own Zen Buddhist practice, leading them to take vows and to develop a life of service and caring for others.
During the ceremony Marinello said that in Zen tradition, as we undertake each Dharma commitment, Zen practice and the investigation into our deep nature have already transformed us. By the time we formally take Buddhist vows, we are already immersed in those vows.
With each acknowledgement of the vows the commitment deepens, Marinello said. He added that while the Osho ceremony acknowledges a sufficient level of training, one is never finished training. Hence a Zen priest is always an unsui, a person of cloud and water.
Pechovnik began training under Hogen and Chozen Bays at Great Vow Zen Monastery and Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple in Oregon, where he received Jukai, lay Buddhist vows. He continued his training under Marinello at Chobo-ji in Seattle, where he began formal koan study. He was ordained by Marinello in 2014.
Soon after his ordination Pechovnik began offering meditation at the then-newly formed No-Rank Zendo in Portland.
Pechovnik lives in Portland with his wife, and works there as a psychotherapist in private practice. He has two adult children also living in Portland.
In his Dharma talk following the ceremony Pechovnik noted his own path into the Dharma, saying that he had stumbled upon Buddhist meditation when he was 14 years old. He spent a month then teaching himself how to meditate. He became frustrated with his unruly mind and, as there was no local teacher or community to support him, he set the practice down for a time.
This brief introduction planted a seed that opened him to the difficulty of working with his own mind, rife with teenage cravings, but also to the deep mystery in the stillness and vibrancy of the world as revealed through meditation practice. It also taught him the need to have a teacher and a community to support this difficult practice.
Pechovnik did not return to meditation until many years later when his life hit a series of crises.
“I turned back to Zen, knowing that, if I ever needed a religion, Zen would be it,” he said. “I was so full of suffering and so longing for something more than what my conditioned mind and egoistic striving was offering me and, remembering what meditation had to offer, I dove in head-first.”
While initially he sought relief through practice simply for his own suffering, as the years went by a natural caring for others arose.
“That compelled me, just naturally, to engage the world in a way I hadn’t before,” he said. “I found that if I responded to the call to be present and caring and warm and tender-hearted, I was given the medicine I needed.”
Pechovnik said he finds himself grateful, humbled, even surprised, to be in the position of Osho. The step means he had digested the practice enough to share it with others, and to be able to care for others in ways he never imagined possible.
Rinzan and Anne Pechovnik have been married for 27 years and both began practicing with the Zen Community of Oregon. Rinzan now runs No-Rank Zendo in Portland Oregon and works as a private practicing psychotherapist in an office in his home. Anne Senryu is a registered nurse and also offers classes in process arts through Pathfish Studio.