Shohaku Okumura was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1948. He received his education at Komazawa University in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied Zen Buddhism. On December 8, 1970, Okumura was ordained at Antaiji by his teacher Kosho Uchiyama, and he practiced there until Uchiyama retired in 1975. He then traveled to the United States, where he cofounded Valley Zendo in Massachusetts and continued Uchiyama's style of zazen practice there. In 1981 he returned to Japan and began translating the writings of Uchiyama and Eihei Dogen from Japanese into English. He taught at the Kyoto Soto Zen Center in Japan, and the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis, and was the director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center (previously called Soto Zen Education Center) in San Francisco from 1997 to 2010.
He is the founding teacher of Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.
"Shohaku-san is a kind of very rare and precious spiritual resource for English-speaking people who are interested in Dogen's Zen."--from the foreword by Issho Fujita, director, Soto Zen Buddhism International Center