Dae Gak

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Dae Gak
Dae Gak.jpg
Religion Seon
Education American International College
Kent State University
Nationality American
Children Gretchen, Maggie and Sam Genthner
Senior posting
Based in Furnace Mountain
Title Zen master
Predecessor Seung Sahn
Religious career
Students Sen Shin
Website www.furnacemountainzen.org

Dae Gak (born 1947), born Robert Genthner, is a Zen master and the guiding teacher of Furnace Mountain in Clay City, Kentucky, a Korean Buddhist temple and retreat center co-founded in 1986 with Seung Sahn. He received Dharma transmission from Seung Sahn in 1994, and now teaches independently of Seung Sahn's Kwan Um School of Zen. In addition to Furnace Mountain he serves as guiding teacher for other Zen groups in North America, Germany and England. He also holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is currently a licensed psychologist in the state of Kentucky.


From left to right: Su Bong, Seung Sahn, and Dae Gak

Robert Genthner (Buddhist name Dae Gak, "great enlightenment") was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1947. He went to graduate school in Psychology at Kent State University. Genthner graduated from Kent State in 1973 with his Ph.D. in clinical psychology, later that year teaching psychology at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. He stopped teaching in 1979, afterward practicing as a licensed psychologist.[1]

In 1979, Genthner met Korean monk and Zen teacher Seung Sahn during a retreat at the Providence Zen Center. In the early 1980s, he and several other individuals founded the Lexington Zen Center in his home, with retreats sometimes taking place at the homes of other practitioners. The group became affiliated with Seung Sahn's Kwan Um School of Zen, founded in July 1983. In 1986, he co-founded a Zen temple at Furnace Mountain with Seung Sahn. The temple, Kwan Se Um San Ji Sah (which means "Perceive World Sound High Ground Temple"), was completed in 1994. Also that year, Genthner/Dae Gak received Dharma transmission from Seung Sahn, and[2][3] founded the Cincinnati Zen Center.[4]

In 2000, Genthner was subject to disciplinary action following allegations by two patients of sexual misconduct and violations of patient confidentiality; while denying wrongdoing, he agreed to a suspension of one year, a fine, and one year of supervised probation after his license was reinstated.[5][6] Also in 2000, he left the Kwan Um School of Zen and began his own. He has since established groups in North America, Germany and England.[7][8][9] Genther, and the Furnace Mountain Zen Retreat Center was featured in the 2010 documentary film Zen Furnace[10] produced by Kentucky filmmaker Steven Middleton.





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Guiding Teacher Zen Master Dae Gak". Furnace Mountain Zen Retreat Center. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  2. ^ Morreale, Don. Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Shambhala Publications. p. 151. ISBN 9781570622700. 
  3. ^ Kwon, Ho-Youn; Kwang Chung Kim; Stephen R. Warner (2001). Korean Americans and Their Religions: Pilgrims and Missionaries from a Different Shore. Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 257. ISBN 0-271-02073-3. 
  4. ^ "Cincinnati Zen Center". Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Lexington Herald Leader, 7/25/2000, Psychologist's License Suspended, B3
  6. ^ Fall 2000 Psychology Board News, State of Kentucky Board of Psychological Examiners, Volume 3, Issue 2, "Robert W. Genthner, Ph.D. June 2000 Settlement Agreement", "The Board alleged that Dr. Genthner, a Kentucky licensed psychologist, exploited two of his clients by sexual touching, had sexual contact with these, failed to create and maintain written psychological records of the therapy of the two clients, and divulged confidential information about one of his patients. Genthner denied these charges. The Board and Dr. Genthner agreed: 1) to a one year active suspension of his license to practice psychology as of June 2000 2) to have his license placed on probation with weekly supervision of his entire practice of psychology for a period of two(2) years after the one(1) year suspension; and 3) to pay the amount of $2,742.50 for investigative costs to the Board."
  7. ^ Rinaldi, Joshua (2003-10-15). "Everything Zen: Center in Cincinnati teaches art of meditation". The News Records. Archived from the original on 2011-08-07. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  8. ^ Galveston County News
  9. ^ Prebish, Charles S (1999). Luminous Passage: The Practice and Study of Buddhism in America. University of California Press. p. 34. ISBN 0-520-21697-0. 
  10. ^ https://vimeo.com/20803196

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