Saturday, June 27, 2009


Victoria Zen Centre to hold Victoria's first Buddhist Ordination

Doshu Lars Rogers has a first-hand understanding of suffering and impermanence. In February 2002, he found himself in the intensive care unit of Vancouver General Hospital more dead than alive having been air lifted from his family’s homestead on Malcolm Island just off of Vancouver Island’s north coast. The diagnosis was acute leukemia, and the prognosis was not hopeful. Immediate chemotherapy left Rogers with no memory of the events that took place for about a month after his arrival at the hospital. In May of 2002, he was released from hospital for two weeks before a scheduled bone marrow transplant “to make some good memories with (his) family”. Upon his return to hospital he was subjected to intense chemotherapy and full-body radiation to ensure that all blood making cells in his body were thoroughly and totally dead. Following the bone marrow transplant, another month of isolation followed waiting for these new cells to take up residence deep within his bones and begin producing healthy blood.

Doshu has practiced Zen Buddhism since 1975-at times passively, and at times with great energy and zeal. Living remotely, his contact with any kind of Buddhist community was infrequent, but he maintained a personal practice and attended meditation retreats occasionally with Toronto Zen Centre, Zen Centres in Oregon and Washington States, and the Victoria Zen Centre. His life path had seen him educated at the University of Toronto in astronomy, travelling through Asia and Europe with his wife Soshin Ruth McMurchy, training and working in electronics and making a living as an entrepreneur in that field. Doshu and Soshin have two children together, and when Doshu became ill, the whole family moved to Victoria so that they could be there to support him, and each other. As he lay in the hospital wondering if he would make it to the next mealtime which Doshu describes as “a yellow-green goo that was pumped through my nose-tube and into my stomach”, a visiting friend asked him what he wanted to do when he got out of the hospital. Doshu had spent much of his time (when he was conscious and/or coherent) reviewing his life, coming to terms with his impending death, and letting go of any regrets of his life; but realized that he hadn’t seriously considered the possibility of recovery. The question he was asked provoked a heartfelt response that he says surprised him. “My family and Zen practice are my priorities.”

When Doshu was discharged from hospital in July of 2002, after the bone marrow transplant had “taken”, it was into the caring hands of his friends and family. As he slowly recovered, struggling through periodic and frightening infections, and dealing with the depression that often follows such severe illness, he gradually began to regain his strength. His resolve and commitment to his priorities also grew stronger. Eventually he overcame concerns about his physical fragility and emotional instability and reconnected with the Victoria Zen Centre. Knowing that Zen Buddhist practice can be demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally, Doshu expected a rough ride but says he was very kindly and gently received by the Zen Centre community and it’s teacher Ven. Eshu Martin. “In hospital I started to experience life more as a gift than a given - connecting with Ven. Eshu and the loving community he inspires has allowed me to grow toward a life based on practice and giving, to face my fears and to uncover the life I have longed for but never before managed to create”, says Rogers.

“Doshu’s commitment to his family, to his community, and to Zen practice raises the bar for everyone that comes into contact with him”, says Martin, who also acts as the Buddhist Chaplain for the University of Victoria’s Interfaith Services. “As the Zen Centre has grown and developed, Doshu has been involved in every aspect, and provides a joyous, humble, and compassionate example for all of us to follow.”

Doshu’s increasing involvement and commitment has led to his completion of a program of training and education at the Victoria Zen Centre that will see him ordained a Zen Monk at the University of Victoria’s Interfaith Chapel on at 10am on July 19, 2009 as a part of the Zen Centre’s semi-annual commitment ceremony. The first event of its kind to be held in Victoria, it promises to be a deeply powerful and moving event for everyone present, and will deeply impact Doshu, his family, and the Buddhist community of Vancouver Island. For more information, please contact the Victoria Zen Centre 250-642-7936.

The Victoria Zen Centre is a federally registered charity that was formed in 1980. For more information please visit the website at

1 comment:

  1. Hearty congratulations to Doshu on his ordination! May life be ever more illumined in the unshakable wisdom born of your journey. Blessings.