Great River Tendai Sangha is part of the Japanese Tendai-shu Buddhist tradition. Our local sangha is a branch of the Tendai Buddhist Institute and New York Betsuin in Canaan, NY. The Tendai Buddhist Institute is designated as the North American headquarters and representative of the Tendai head temple Enryaku-ji, Tendai’s worldwide headquarters on Mt. Hiei in Japan.
In 2006, originally called the Washington Tendai Sangha, we were founded on Rohatsu (December 8th) by Rev. Monshin Paul Naamon, Joshoku (abbot) of Karuna Tendai Dharma Center, Jiunzan Tendaiji “Tendai Temple of Compassionate Cloud Mountain", based in New York. Our new affiliate 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 Department in Arlington County, Virginia.
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 2010, the sangha leadership passed to Rev. Jikan Daniel Anderson.
In 2011, the name changed to the Great River Ekayana Sangha. The “Great River” in our name comes from the Algonquian word "Chesepiooc" referring to a community "at a great river". The change also recognized our serving members throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed region.
In 2013, we began holding services at a second location at Yoga in Daily Life in Alexandria, Virginia.
In 2014, we changed our name to the Great River Tendai Sangha and formally drafted a statement of mission and objectives.
In 2015, we incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in the state of Virginia. Junsen Chris Nettles received Doshu ordination.
February 2016, leadership of the Great River Tendai Sangha officially passed to Rev. Junshin Chris Nettles, PhD.
June 2017, we once again have two active clergy members with newly ordained Doshu, Rev. Yusei Lan Van. While we continue holding religious services each Sunday at Yoga in Daily Life with occasional day-long retreats, we ended weeknight meetings at the UU of Arlington.
October 2018, leadership of the Great River Tendai Sangha officially passed to Rev. Yusei Van as Rev. Junsen Nettles relocates to northern California rebuild the California Tendai Monastery (CTM). CTM, established by the late Rev. Keisho Leary, was destroyed by the Valley Fire wildfire in September 2015.