Reverend Dai-En Bennage

Reverend Patricia Dai-En Bennage Roshi is a Soto Zen priest and abbess emerita of Mt. Equity Zendo, Jihoji in central Pennsylvania. Leaving behind a dedicated life of classical ballet of 20 years, she received her B.A. in East Asian Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo, in 1972. In Japan, her early Buddhist teachers were Korean priest Shin Sunim, followed by the Rinzai Master, Omori Sogen Roshi, 1972-78. On the 88 temple pilgrimage in 1978, she met her lineage teacher, Noda Daito Roshi, and ordained in 1979. From 1980-89, Rev. Dai-En was trained at the Nisodo women’s monastery in Nagoya, where she translated Abbess Aoyama Roshi’s book Zen Seeds, and interpreted for other international ordainees who came from South America and Europe, as well as the U.S. Her Shike` (“teacher of teachers”) training with male priests took place at Koshoji and Hokyoji temples. On five occasions, she interpreted for month-long East West Spiritual Exchanges in Europe and Japan between Japanese Zen and European Catholic monks and nuns. She returned to PA in 1991 to found Mt. Equity Zendo in Pennsdale, PA while also teaching at Bucknell University and in six federal prisons. In 2014, continuing the monastery was no longer possible. Now semi-retired, Rev. Dai-En instructs newly ordained Zen priests in special training, and practices zazen with others while turning her energy to writing.