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The Buddhist religion is the teaching of Prince Siddharta Gautama. Born in Nepal, He taught in the valley of the Ganges, in India, from 544 B.C., the date of His Enlightenment, until His death in 489 B.C.

The Buddha (the Enlightened One) taught that suffering is the result of ignorance, that the cause of suffering is desire, and that the cause of desire is attachment. He taught that attachment arises from the illusion of the permanence and independence of things. The knowledge that all is impermanent and dependent, that all is subject to incessant change, eliminates attachment, undermines desire and therefore liberates us from suffering. To obtain this knowledge Buddhists are taught to observe the world's (including their mind's) functioning, and thereby understand that the endless chain of cause and effect is never broken. The application of this knowledge in everyday life is the practice of the Buddhist religion.



The Buddha taught according to the level of advancement of his listeners. In the "Flower Sermon" He taught at the highest level, without words, pointing directly to reality and the Buddha-nature in each of us. The realization of our Buddha-nature is illumination, Buddhahood, available to us all. The way to illumination is meditation. The Zen school specializes in teaching and practicing meditation. "Zen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese "Ch'an", from the Sanskrit "Dyana" (meditation). Since Buddhist meditation is very different from its western counterpart, it is preferable to learn and practice under the guidance of an experienced master. Only thus can one avoid common mistakes and ensure rapid progress.


Zen Master Ming Qi

(Concorde with the Light)

Lily-Marie Johnson was born in 1931, and grew up in Chicago, USA. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, and after four years of practical experience, including living in Japan, she studied Law at America's first law school: Marshall-Wythe (William and Mary, Virginia). At the time of her graduation, she was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review and first in her class. She received her Juris Doctor degree after research in International Law at Oxford University. After seminaires in International Law, Diplomatic Relations and research on 20th century China, she received a Certificate of Advanced Studies from the Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales at Geneva University.  She has a commercial pilot's licence, having logged 1,500 hours, including 35 hours in jet fighters.

More than a quarter of a century ago, dissatisfied with the solutions offered by western traditions, she turned to Zen Buddhism, which she had encountered during her stay in Japan. Rejecting modern western reinterpretations and "gurus", she studied the ancient texts by herself.

After twenty years of study and practice, she obtained the promised understanding. Searching confirmation, she made several trips to China, eventually finding her master: Jing Hui, of the Lin-Chi (Japanese: Rinzi) School, Abbot of the Bai-lin (Cypress Forest) Zen Monastery, and Dharma-successor to Xu Yun (Empty Cloud), greatest Zen Master of the 20th century, who died in 1959, at the age of 120 years. (See "Since you asked" for the lineage of transmission from the Lord Buddha.)

In 1994, she was accepted as his disciple, and on 25 February 1999 (2543 by the Buddhist calendar and the 2000th year of Buddhism in China), at Bai-lin, she was ordained a Buddhist nun and subsequently declared a Zen Master by the Abbot, extraordinary recognition for a western woman. She has since been charged to spread the Dharma in the Occident.

Due to her training in Philosophy and Law, through her long and rich experience of life, her intensive study and practice of Buddhism, and her recognized qualifications, she is well-placed to assist those who wish to benefit from the Buddha's teaching. Swiss, resident in Geneva since 1972 and member of the International Buddhist Foundation, she is bilingual.

Her instruction is available to all, without charge. You may contact her as follows:

Lily-Marie Johnson

8bis rue de Coutance CH 1201 Genèva,  Switzerland
Tel. (in Switzerland): 076-334-0629
Tel. (international): 0041 / 76-334-0629