Great River Tendai Sangha is part of the Japanese Tendai Buddhist tradition. Our sangha is a branch of the Tendai Buddhist Institute and New York Betsuin (training center) in Canaan, NY. The Tendai Buddhist Institute is designated as the North American headquarters and representative of the Tendai head temple (Enryaku-ji) on Mt. Hiei (Tendai’s worldwide headquarters).
Originally called the Washington Tendai Sangha, we were founded on Rohatsu (December 8) 2006 by Rev. Monshin Paul Naamon, Joshoku (abbot) of Tendai Buddhist Institute and New York Betsuin. The sangha was placed under the leadership of Doshu, Rev. Chion Ernie Lissabet. For a little over one year, services were held in space leased from the Cherrydale fire dept.
In 2010, the sangha leadership passed to Rev. Jikan Daniel Anderson. In 2008, the Washington Tendai Sangha moved to space at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. Our weekly shikan (meditation) services continued there until July 2017.
In 2011, the name changed to the Great River Ekayana Sangha.
In 2013, we began holding services in our second location at Yoga in Daily Life (upstairs studio), in Alexandria. Our religious services continue there each Sunday from 10:00a – 11:30a, with occasional day-long retreats.
In 2014, we changed our name to the Great River Tendai Sangha. The “Great River” in our name comes from the Algonguian word 'Chesepiooc', word referring to a community "at a great river". The change also recognized our serving members throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed region.
In 2015, we incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in the state of Virginia.
In 2016, leadership of the Great River Tendai Sangha officially passed to Rev. Junsen Chris Nettles, PhD.