Monday, October 12, 2009

John Daido Loori Roshi, 1931-2009

John Daido Loori Roshi passed away last Saturday. I read his two books The Heart of Being and The Eight Gates of Zen when I was preparing to receive Jukai, the Buddhist precepts. Both were important to me, and I recommend them highly. He was a pioneer in American Zen--one of the first Zen Roshis from the United States. He received transmission first in the Soto lineage and then later in the Rinzai lineage. He established the Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskill Mountains in New York and the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen. He called himself "a radical conservative," according to the very good New York Times obit. And this from Harvey SoDaiho Hilbert's blog:
I met him once in California at the 800th birthday of Master Dogen. He walked with a slow deliberateness and slightly hunched back. There was a slight smile on his face and seeming twinkle in his eyes. He taught through himself: a manifest buddha. Yet, also, was challenging. His teaching was as historic masters, the kyosaku [the "encouragement" or "warning" stick] and a word or bell were always present.
As practitioners we all owe something to his practice and his work. I recommend following the various links to learn more about him and of course reading his books.


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