Jakusho Bill Kwong

Bill is the abbot of the Sonoma Mt. Zen Center. He began studying with Shunryu Suzuki in 1960. Suzuki was working on Bill's transmission when Suzuki died and could not complete it. Bill finally got transmission from Suzuki's son Hoitsu in 1978. From Bill's bio off the Sonoma Mt. ZC:

Jakusho Kwong was born in Santa Rosa in 1935 and grew up in Palo Alto.  In 1959, he began studying Zen with Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and was one of his first students at Sokoji Temple of San Francisco.   Shunryu Suzuki recognized Jakusho Kwong as dharma heir to his lineage shortly before his death.  In 1978 his son, Hoitsu Suzuki-roshi, completed Kwong-roshi's dharma transmission, officiated by the late Hakusan Kojin Noiri, who was an expert on transmission at Rinsoin, Japan. Kwong-roshi established  Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in memory of his late teacher-Suzuki-roshi. [more from that bio at the bottom of the page]

Genjoji - Sonoma Mt. ZC website

Interview on cuke

Peter Schneider interviewing Betty Warren, Della Goertz and Bill Kwong in 1969

Jakusho Kwong in Crooked Cucumber

Laura Kwong cuke page

Sept. 2, 2023 - Nyoze Demian Kwong steps up as the new abbot of Genjoji.

Beloved Sonoma Zen leader reflects on his life and teachings
Read on cuke. Read on SonomaNews.com.

Jakusho Bill Kwong talks about Chogyam Trungpa on the Chronicles Project

Another video of Kwong talking about Trungpa

Another video by Bill Scheffel with Jakusho Bill Kwong talking about on becoming a teacher

Bill Scheffel's video site which might have more on Kwong - that's three from him above

Sweeping Zen interview with Bill Kwong



Books by Jakusho Kwong

No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen - Shambhala Publications link - Amazon Link

Breath Sweeps Mind [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition] - Amazon link

Only Don't Know - Shambhala Sun link - calligraphy book

View From a Moving Train By


9-18-12 - Congratulations to Jakusho Kwong Roshi and all at Genjoji - Sonoma Mountain Zen Center on the groundbreaking for their new zendo

from Genjoji website:

After eight years, we have met our fundraising goal in order to break ground for our new Meditation Hall. We invite you to join us for this historic ceremony from 10am to 12 noon on Sunday, September 16, 2012.

The new Zendo – is the womb of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas from which they are born. This birth is like dawn’s light as it dispels the darkness of the landscape by helping the many human beings to restore their inherent nature – Basic Goodness.

Jakusho Kwong-roshi

Sorry I couldn't make it. - DC

Interview with Demian Nyoze Kwong


Nyoze received Shiho*, also called Denpo (Dharma transmission) from Jakusho Kwong-roshi**. Shiho consists of Kegyo - 6 days of supplemental practice leading up to the actual ceremony, and on the 7th day finishing with Denpo when the teacher transmits and the student receives.

We reviewed Roshi's notes written on old paper of when he received shiho from Hoitsu Suzuki-roshi at Rinsoin (Shunryu Suzuki's home temple) in Japan, 1978. Kojun Noiri-roshi was the guiding teacher and lead Suzuki-roshi and Kwong-roshi through the entire transmission process. At that time Noiri-roshi was one of the leading transmission masters in Japan. The transmission ceremony was his specialty. Noiri roshi was very strict! I mean a good strict! I met him when I was 8 years old. Being in his presence you could not help but be awake and stand up straight! Shunryu Suzuki-roshi wanted Noiri-roshi to transmit the tradition of transmission ceremony to America but it never happened.

*Shihō (嗣法) refers to a series of ceremonies in Sōtō Zen Buddhism wherein a unsui receives Dharma transmission, becoming part of the dharma lineage of his or her teacher.


From Bill's bio off the Sonoma Mt. ZC:

Jakusho Kwong-roshi, founder and residing abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, has taught Zen students in the United States and Europe for over forty years.  He also founded the Kannon Zen Center in Warsaw, Poland and the Nátthagi Zen Center in Reykjavik, Iceland and has travelled there annually for the last thirty years.  He is a successor in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and one of nine Western teachers to be recognized as a Kokukyosaifu Kyoshi, a Zen Teacher, within the official Soto Zen School in Japan.

He and his wife, family, and several devoted students  transformed eighty-one acres into a residential sanctuary for Zen practice. He has worked closely with other Buddhist lineages and spiritual traditions, including the late Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn, Catholic priests of the Benedictine Monasteries in Poland, Vietnamese Zen Teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Tibetan Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Cambodia’s spiritual leader Maha Ghosanda, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  His book, No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen, published by Random House in 2003, has been translated into Spanish, German, and Polish.  An extensive set of audio lectures, Breath Sweeps Mind, was produced and distributed  nationally by Sounds True Publishers in 2003.

“Zen in everyday life,” Kwong-roshi explains, “is nothing other than the aliveness we bring to each moment. Our practice is truly everything we encounter in our life. When you rake the ground, the ground also rakes you. The ground tells you where and how to rake. You become the activity, and this activity has no beginning and no end. This is how it is done. This is truly Being Time.”

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