Blue Lotus Assembly was founded in the late 1900s by An-shu Stephen K. Hayes, well-known book author and teacher of the Asian martial arts and meditation sciences.
Fundamental practice is based on Japanese and Tibetan esoteric traditions. The organization behind the training is referred to as the Blue Lotus Assembly. The name is derived from the Shoren-In Blue Lotus Temple of Kyoto, former temple home of the poet priest Jien (1155-1225), 62nd Zasu Headmaster of Tendai, whose name inspired the Dharma name given to Blue Lotus Assembly founder Stephen Kinryu-Jien Hayes.
In his youth, Stephen K. Hayes was driven by questions of a spiritual nature, but the cultural climate of the mid-1900s American Midwest offered little in the way of encouragement in his quest. Seeking directions and answers as a teenager, he immersed himself in activity at his family church, heading youth groups and assisting ministers in services and ceremonies.
The 1970s were turbulent, awkward, and disjointed years for Stephen K. Hayes. He struggled to force aside his spiritual inclinations and take his expected place in workaday world contemporary Western society. Eventually compelled to abandon conventionality, he set out on a path that led him to Japan, India, and Tibet, and to the reaffirmation of the validity and importance of his spiritual life quest.
He was initiated into the Japanese yamabushi mountain ascetic practice in the summer of 1987. He carries the title Dai-Sendatsu in the Shugendo tradition, but prefers his usual title of An-shu.
He took Tokudo ordination vows from Japanese esoteric vajrayana teacher Clark Jikai Choffy in 1991. Rev. Jikai received his training under the direction of Archbishop Jion Haba of the Reisho-In Temple in Tokyo.
Stephen K. Hayes traveled at the side of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Nobel Peace Prize winner, in the 1990s as security escort and advisor. He received the Bodhisattva vows from His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet in August of 1999, as part of the Kalachakra “Wheel of Time” initiation.
In December 2002, he traveled to south India to take part in the Dalai Lama’s consecration opening of the Drepung Gomang meditation hall as a special guest of the Dalai Lama’s family.
He began his study of Vajrakilaya Dorje-phurba “Diamond spike remover of obstacles to enlightenment” with His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya in 1996. In subsequent years he studied Vajrakilaya practice with Trulshik Rinpoche, Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche, and Garchen Rinpoche, and received private practice transmission and traditional pecha book of rites from Lama Kunga Dhondup and Khenpo Pema Wangdak in 2004.
He attended His Holiness the 41st Sakya Trizin’s annual 11-day Vajrakilaya Grand Rites at the Sakya Centre in Dehradun, India, in September 2006, and received further Vajrakilaya empowerments from His Eminence Ratna Vajra Sakya in June 2007. He visited Sakya Pema Ts’al Monastery in Pokhara, Nepal, for Tibetan New Year Vajrakilaya year clearing rites in 2008. He took full Lam Dre initiation with HH Sakya Trizin in 2011. He was special guest at the consecration dedication of the Pema Ts’al temple in Pokhara, Nepal, in 2012. Sakya Pema Ts’al monastery abbot Khenpo Kunga Dhondup gave him the title Ngakchang in salute of his work with their phurba magic dagger rites.
A member of the prestigious Black Belt Hall of Fame, he is described by Black Belt Magazine as “one of the ten most influential martial artists alive in the world today.” He is An-shu founder of the martial art of To-Shin Do, a personal transformation program that serves as a unique bridge spanning the gulf between the timeless wisdom of the East and the fresh pragmatism of the West.
Stephen K. Hayes and his wife Rumiko teach self-discovery and empowerment through martial arts and meditation at their SKH Quest Center Dayton in Ohio, and through their network of To-Shin Do licensed affiliated instructors around the world.