Monday, July 28, 2014
Monk who brought Zen Buddhism to US dies
Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
Zen Buddhist teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a leading figure in Zen Buddhism in America whose legacy was later complicated by allegations of sexual abuse, has died. He was 107.
Roshi died Sunday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Gento Steve Krieger, head monk at Rinzai-ji, also known as the Cimarron Zen Center, in Jefferson Park. He died of complications of old age, Krieger said.
Roshi arrived in Los Angeles more than 50 years ago and was among a wave of Japanese teachers to tailor Zen Buddhism teachings to Westerners. He once pledged to students that he would not die “until Zen is born in America.”
“He was a Zen master,” Krieger said. “I don’t know anybody else who lives that completely and that fully. When you meet somebody like that, it changes your opinion of what a human being is.”
He opened dozens of Zen centers, including one on Mt. Baldy known for its rigorous training regimen.