Kritee was publicly authorized to offer Zen koan study in the lineage of Cold Mountain as an independent teacher (Sensei) in May 2013. She was ordained as a priest (Suiji-Shiki) in the lineage in 2010. Kanko (“Cold Light”) is her spiritual name.
The Cold Mountain lineage began during the Ming Dynasty—the 17th century—when a group of monks from Mount Huangbo in China came to Japan and founded what was eventually called Obaku Zen. At the time, the monks from China believed that they were simply bringing the latest form of Rinzai Zen, but in Japan it was treated as a separate school. The style of Zen these monks brought with them was much more flexible and all-encompassing than the styles practiced in Japan at the time. It welcomed teachings from all the Chinese Zen schools and also made a place for the devotional practices of Pure Land Buddhism. One monk who was part of this delegation came from the Han Shan Si “Cold Mountain Temple” in Suzhou, China and went on to start a new Zen temple in Japan, Kankoji, in what is now Kameoka. Since then, there has been an unbroken lineage of priests/practitioners in Cold Mountain lineage. Please read details of our visit to Han Shan Si in China here and here.
During and following the World War II period, Miyauchi Kanko Roshi served as the Abbot-teacher of Kankoji. Glenn Kangan Webb, who was an American and trained with Miyauchi Roshi at Kanko-ji as well as Myoshin-ji, eventually became Miyauchi Roshi’s dharma heir. All the priests who trained at the Kanko-ji temple also trained at Myoshin-ji or Ryutaku-ji, which are the two major Rinzai training temples in Japan. After Webb Roshi came back to America and established what was then known as the Seattle Zen Center, he invited Takabayashi Genki Roshi (whom he has met with while at a special training at Daitokuji in 1968, another major Zen training temple in Japan) to be a resident teacher at the center. Our root teacher, Kurt Kankan Spellmeyer, trained with both Takabayashi Genki and Kangan Webb. Kritee was ordained in this lineage at a priest ceremony (Suiji-Shiki) with dharma name Kanko (Cold Light in Japanese) in 2010 .
For more details about our training and backgrounds, please meet us here.