Ryodo Yamashita (Sudhammacara Bhikkhu) began his journey with the Dharma as a Soto Zen monk in 1982 at Antaiji in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. Under the guidance of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi he learned the essence of zazen while working the land at this largely self-sufficient temple. After several years he left for America where he settled at the Valley Zendo in Massachusetts.  There he spent 3 years training, teaching, and getting acquainted with the international Buddhist world. This led to an extended period of practice in Italy on his way back to Japan.

The Aum sarin gas attacks in 1995 deeply disturbed him and brought him to question the state of Japanese Buddhism. Shortly after he rented a small farm where he established the “Valley Stream Zendo.”

In 2001 he left Japan again, this time for Burma.  He ordained as a bikkhu under Pa-Auk Sayadaw and spent the next four years in intensive vipassana practice.

After extended stays in Sri Lanka and Nepal (practicing in the Tibetan tradition), he returned to Japan in 2006 where he settled at the seaside  Ippoan ( 一法庵 , One Dharma Hermitage) in  the old capital of Kamakura.


Mt. Fuji from the beach near Ippoan

Almost immediately he began holding weekend zazen retreats that continue to this day. Since 2007 his Japanese Dharma talks have been broadcast via the popular One Dharma Forum podcast. Today, with Ippoan as his base, he runs meditation retreats throughout Japan and abroad.

Sesshin at Ippoan

Sesshin at Ippoan

Yamashita-sensei has led retreats outside Japan every year since 2007.  His English language Dharma talks from these courses are available  via the One Dharma International Podcast. He currently holds retreats in Korea, Taiwan, and throughout India. Among other activities there he runs courses in the villages of the Shakya tribe with the Buddha’s own descendents.

Yamashita-sensei teaches an innovative, non-sectarian approach to meditation known as the “One Dharma Method,” or Clear Sky Meditation (in Japanese 青空瞑想、aozora meisou, lit. blue sky meditation). The development of this approach came through years of trial and error in his own practice and intimate work with his students from around the world.

In September 2013 he co-authored with Issho Fujita the book Buddhism 3.0: An Update.  There they outline a new approach to the teachings for the current era. His second book, Clear As the Sky was published in May 2014.