We Are Building American Buddhism

Big Mind, Inc./Kanzeon Zen Center

1274 E. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Telephone: (801) 593-1771
Website: www.bigmind.org; www.kzci.org
Attn: Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi

Description of Organization

Kanzeon International was founded in 1982, bringing together individuals and groups studying with Genpo Merzel Roshi throughout Europe and America, which is located in Solitude, near Brighton, Utah.

In 1999 the Big Mind Process™ was created, later also known as Big Mind/Big Heart™. It has been acclaimed by philosopher Ken Wilber as “arguably the most important and original discovery in the last two centuries of Buddhism. It is an astonishingly original, profound, and effective path for waking up, or seeing one’s True Nature. It is such a simple and universal practice it can be used in any spiritual path you wish, or even by itself, as a practice for realizing your True Self, which you can call God, Allah, Jahweh, Brahman, Tao, Ein Sof; it doesn’t really matter, because the core of the Big Mind process is Emptiness itself, which, having no specific content at all, can and does embrace anything that arises, integrating it all.”

Grants(s) Awarded

2003 - 2004

In the 2003-2004 period, the Foundation funded a $165,000 grant to support Kanzeon's "Big Mind" program.

2005 - 2008

The initial grant was supplemented in 2005-2006 with another grant of $200,000, and a further grant of $100,000 in 2008. These grants have been used to jump start an expansion of the "Big Mind" program, including the publishing of the book, "Big Mind-Big Heart/Finding Your Way" along with DVD teaching devices on the same subject.

The "Big Mind Process" is an innovative technique developed by Genpo Merzel Roshi, who heads the Salt Lake City Zen Center. The process is designed to fast track participants towards achieving self-realization. The innovative and accessible approach taught through this process allows participants to awaken to a universal mind consciousness, creating a major shift in perspective: from a self-centered view of the world to one where all beings are seen as connected with one another.

The Foundation's grant has permitted Big Mind to train teachers and to offer the program in ever-expanding parts of the United States via "Big Mind-Big Heart" and the creation of the DVD teaching tool. The meditative process fostered by "Big Mind" represents a unique Western contribution to the traditional Zen foundations upon which this new practice is based. Genpo Roshi has been using Frederick Lenz' writings to inspire his Dharma talks and teachings in the "Big Mind" workshops, and has integrated the Foundation's musical offerings into this program.

The "Big Mind" process was developed by Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel after 30 years of formal Zen training and 25 years of Zen teaching and counseling. The technique comes out of both the Western psychotherapy tradition and the Eastern Zen tradition, a 2600-year-old teaching of self-realization and actualization. The "Big Mind" technique is a very simple yet powerful and rapid way to help a person shift perspective and realize the wisdom that may take a meditator more than 15 or 20 years to accomplish.


The Foundation continued its support in April 2009 with a $6,000 grant to fund costs associated with training six of Genpo Roshi's successor teachers in the Big Mind process. This will enable the teachers to more effectively use the work with their students, and pass the training along for others to use.

Return to Grant Activity