Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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David Jokai Blackwell

Vice Abbot

Jokai Blackwell began studying Zen Buddhism in England in 1998, becoming a formal student of Tenshin Fletcher, Roshi in 1999. He was a resident of Yokoji from Spring 2000 until Winter 2004, during which time he completed his term as Shuso (head trainee). After four years living and working in Los Angeles, Jokai returned to full-time study at Yokoji. He received Tokudo (priest ordination) in 2010 and completed koan study in 2013. Jokai continues his studies under the guidance of Tenshin Fletcher, Roshi

Recent Posts by Jokai

  • A Day of Zen Practice

    Spring is in full flow here at the Center. It’s quite an easy transition to say goodbye - at...

  • Spring Training Unfolds

    A couple of weeks into Spring Training Period and life at the Center is very full. We began on...

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Jim Yugen Lakey


Yugen started practicing Zen in Liverpool in 2005 with David Keizan Scott Sensei. In February 2008, Yugen moved to California to train with Tensin Roshi at Yokoji. Having trained in the UK as a vegetarian cook, Yugen started out as the tenzo, or head cook, at Yokoji before moving over to administrative duties in 2009. In 2010, Yugen received tokudo (priest ordination) and later that year completed his shuso training. Yugen completed koan study in 2014.

Yugen also co-owns a small web design studio, Apple Canyon Designs.

Recent Posts by Yugen

  • Weathered the Storm

    The storm has now spent itself—there are still clouds lingering and the occasional spell of...

  • So Far So Good

    Jokai and I went up to Yokoji this morning during a lapse in the rain and were relieved to see...

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