After his Fine Arts studies in Ghent, Frank De Waele (b. 1957) worked in museums in Venice, Brussels and Ghent, and for the Belgian radio. Later, he taught painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leuven.
Attracted by the spirituality of Zen, Frank started meditating in the Sangha of master Deshimaru in 1986. He also practiced with the Dutch Zen teacher, Ton Lathouwers.
In 1991 Frank met his future French Zen teacher Genno Pagès Roshi and became her student. Three years later, he took the Buddhist vows and moved to her residential Zen center near Paris.
Frank combined his intensive lay training and meditation practice there with his engagement for the Peacemaker Community, an interfaith network for spirituality and social change founded by the American Zen teacher Bernie Glassman Roshi. Frank first met Bernie Roshi on the Bearing Witness Retreat in Auschwitz in 1996. After a street retreat in Cologne in 1997, Frank began to work with Bernie to develop local Peacemaker initiatives in Europe. He attended numerous training sessions and workshops with Bernie in the US, Europe and Israel, spent several months in the Peacemaker Hub in Santa Barbara and Montague, and became a certified Peacemaker Circle Developer. He often traveled with Bernie and translated for him when he came to Europe.
Frank participated in several other training activities, such as ‘Big Mind’ with Genpo Merzel Roshi; Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg and Ruud Baanders; ‘Way of Council’ with Fleet Maull; clowning with Moshe Cohen, and an applied training on Sociocracy.
Frank returned to Belgium in 2002 where he established the Dana Sangha Belgium.
Frank received Dharma transmission (shiho) from Genno Roshi in 2005, became a qualified Zen teacher in the White Plum Soto Zen tradition of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi and founded his own community, the Zen Sangha.
Frank lives in Ghent at the Zen Sangha zendo, where he works fulltime as a Zen teacher in residence. He takes on the spiritual guidance and the priestly functions, gives Dharma teachings and is responsible for the training of the lay practitioners. He also serves eleven local Zen Sangha groups and has developed a very active and varied lay Zen practice program.
During the street retreat in April 2011 in New York, Frank received transmission from Bernie Glassman Roshi and hence became his Dharma successor.
In 2014 he received the final seal of approval (inka) from both his Zen teachers.
In the context of the Zen Peacemakers (ZP), Frank participated in more than a dozen Auschwitz Bearing Witness retreats, where he also was a Spirit Holder. He has organized and led many street retreats (Brussels, Paris, Cologne, Nijmegen and Helsinki) and pilgrimages (Chartres, Vezelay, Assisi, Lampedusa, Flanders Fields), ZP workshops (Florence, Paris, Barcelona, London, Poland, Switzerland and Germany) and numerous ZP events in Netherlands and Belgium. Frank has designed and led the ZP Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia in 2017. He has served on the board of ZP International and is Spirit Holder of the ZP Low Lands since 2013.
Frank Roshi is active in the interreligious dialogue and is organizing an interfaith gathering in Sarajevo for 2019. He is also deeply involved in palliative care, for which he initiated a Buddhist training for volunteers in Belgium.
Frank De Waele Roshi loves art, reading and walking.
He is married to Alexandra Mushin Gericke, an Iyengar yoga teacher and senior Zen student of Genpo Roshi. They have two daughters, Hannia and Sanne.