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Master Deshimaru created the European Zen Association, which became the International Zen Association to have a legal structure to transmit the Buddha Dharma to the West to allow human beings to free themselves from suffering.

In 2017, AZI celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Soto Zen in Europe. It brings together many teachers and practitioners who continue to work together, in their diversity, to spread the practice of Zen and to establish Buddha's teaching in the West in a sustainable way.

To this purpose, the AZI coordinates the activities of several hundred places of practice and manages the Zen temple of the Gendronnière, the gathering place of the " Great Sangha ".

It organizes sesshins, summer sessions, symposia and events bringing together practitioners from all over the world. It publishes periodicals in several languages and participates in the dialogue between the different spiritual currents.