Jan Chozen Bays

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Jan Chozen Bays
Jan Chozen Bays.jpg
Religion Zen Buddhism
School Harada-Yasutani
Lineage White Plum Asanga
Education M.D. University of California at San Diego
Dharma names Chozen
Born c. 1945
United States
Spouse Hogen Bays
Senior posting
Based in Oregon, USA
Title Roshi
Predecessor Taizan Maezumi
Religious career

Great Vow Zen Monastery

Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple
Zen Community of Oregon

Jan Chozen Bays, MD (born 1945), is a Zen teacher, author, mindful eating educator, and pediatrician specializing in work with abused children.


Jan Chozen Bays was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 9, 1945, the day the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. She grew up in East Greenbush, New York and spent two years in Korea. She received her undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and earned her medical degree at the University of California at San Diego, specializing in pediatrics. Bays is a nationally recognized expert on child abuse.[1]

It was after Bays began practicing Zen in a group the included Charlotte Joko Beck, Anne Seisen Saunders, and Jerry Shishin Wick in San Diego. She eventually moved to the Zen Center of Los Angeles to study with the Japanese Zen teacher Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She served as the physician at the Zen Center’s community medical clinic. She was a student of Maezumi from 1977 until his death in 1995. She received dharma transmission from him in 1983 becoming his 4th dharma heir and, after Joko Beck, the second woman.[1]

With her husband Laren Hogen Bays, since 1985 she has been a teacher at the Zen Community of Oregon, a Zen center or sangha in Portland, Oregon.[2] Chozen and Hogen Bays are also co-founders and co-abbots of Great Vow Zen Monastery of Clatskanie, Oregon, which opened in 2002. From 1990 until the present she has trained with Shodo Harada, a Rinzai Zen teacher.[3][4] In 2011, Bays founded Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple in Portland, Oregon.[5]

Child Abuse Expert

Bays is a pediatrician and nationally recognized expert on child abuse.[1] In the 1980s and 1990s, she conducted the medical examinations of thousands of infants and children who had been abused or killed and regularly appeared in court as an expert witness.[6] In 1987, she helped to found Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Services (CARES) Northwest, now one of the oldest and largest child abuse assessment centers in the United States.[7]



See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?. Wisdom Publications. pp. 169–171. ISBN 978-0861715091. 
  2. Haught, Nancy (January 11, 2001). "Karma: Buddhism's most misunderstood concept". Amarillo Globe News. 
  3. Before founding Great Vow she was the founder of Larch Mountain Zen Center, also in the Portland area, and prior to that she and Hogen were longtime residents of the LA Zen Center, founded by Maezumi Roshi. Chozen is a pediatrician specializing in child abuse, founded a child abuse clinic in Portland (called CARES) and has lectured on the subject throughout the U.S. and internationally. She is the author of several books. Kosho Uchiyama; Thomas Wright; Jisho Cary Warner; Shohaku Okumura (2004). Opening the hand of thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice. Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0861713575. 
  4. James William Coleman (2002). The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195152417. 
  5. "Zen Community of Oregon history | Zen Community of Oregon". www.zendust.org. Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  6. Bays, Jan Chozen (2002). Jizo Bodhisattva: Guardian of Children, Travelers & Other Voyagers. Shambhala Publications. pp. xxv–xxvi. 
  7. "CARES NW About Us". 

External links


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Selected videos:

  • Consider Forgiveness: Jan Chozen Bays
    Description: Forgiveness as a practice, the suffering of abusers, love. Consider Forgiveness features interviews with leaders and scholars from the Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian traditions. This project was filmed in Amritsar, India, at Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness, a meeting of the Elijah Interfaith Institute's board of religious leaders. View these clips to learn more about each faith's approach to forgiveness and how it relates to justice, love, compassion, retribution, revenge, and empathy. Part of the series on Forgiveness created by the Fetzer Institute.
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