Shunryu Suzuki, a Japanese Zen priest belonging to the Soto lineage, came to San Francisco in 1959 at the age of fifty-five. He was impressed by the seriousness and quality of "beginner's mind" among Americans he met who were interested in Zen and decided to settle here. As more and more people joined him in meditation, Zen Center came into being and he was its first abbot. Under his tutelage, independent branch groups were formed in Los Altos, Mill Valley, and Berkeley, and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and the City Center were acquired. Soon after his death his wish for Zen Center to have a farm was fulfilled when Green Gulch Farm in Marin County was purchased. Although an obscure figure on the Japanese Zen landscape, he is one of principle founders of Buddhism in America. Some of his edited talks have been collected in the books Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai and Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen. Suzuki-roshi, as his students called him, died in December of 1971.
This is a revision of the brief bio of Suzuki found on SFZC.org as of August, 2005. See comments on brief bio of Shunryu Suzuki.
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