Jack Weller

Come Walk in the Rain with Me:
my Years with Suzuki Roshi

by Jack Weller.


Jack Samuel Weller was born on May 26, 1939 and passed away on December 17, 2018
- from the otherwise blank Legacy page for Jack at the Woodlawn Funeral Home of Colma, CA, where he was cremated.

Jan. 21, 2019 -
Today was the memorial for Jack Weller. A beautiful ceremony, organized and directed by Mary and Daniel. After, everyone in the Buddha Hall was invited into his study at 340, and invited to take whatever they wanted--books, art work, personal notebooks, tchatchkes*. (*yiddish for "knick-knacks") - Rick Levine

December 17, 2018 - Just got word that Jack Weller died last night peacefully after a week in hospice. RIP Jack, a truly gentle soul. Condolences to his wife Mary Watson and son Daniel. - dc

There was a memorial service for Jack at the SFZC City Center on Thursday, Dec. 20th at 6:10pm in the zendo following 5:30 zazen.

Shunryu Suzuki and Jack Weller, Tassajara c. 1968

1-04-19 - Laura Burges on Jack Weller

10-17-18 - Jack Weller Shares Suzuki - at SFZC City Center - livestream Vimeo.
Read transcription.

Jack Weller dot com [excerpts below - most of it]

Jack's page at CIIS (the California Inst. of Integral Studies) - reprinted below

6-24-14 - Artist Narcissus Quagliata Presents Suzuki Roshi Print and Releases Recorded Presentation - The artist has also generously allowed Zen Center to share this video of his presentation on May 9, 2014, with in-depth discussion of his art as well as his time here. The video opens with an introduction by Zen Center contemporary Jack Weller.

Jack is quoted twice in this piece on his friend Narcissus.

Jack and Mary Watson were married at the city center in 1980. On this page for memories of Mitsu Suzuki are some memories of Mary of her and a photo of Mitsu with Mel Weitsman.

DC on Jack from Tassajara Stories Draft

Question from Jack Weller to Shunryu Suzuki during Shosan ceremony at Tassajara Dated Fall 1968.

Student F [Jack Weller]: Docho Roshi, I wish to ask a question that I ask of all religions. In the sutra1 that we have been reading, and in other Buddhist works, and in your lectures you speak about the infinite. Infinite time, infinite truth: a truth-- true in the past for an infinite time. It is said that a sutra has been repeated again and again in the past for an infinite amount of time, or, if not infinite, then for an uncountable number of years-- of eons. Yet we know that man is not infinite in the same sense that-- at least today-- we believe that man evolved, physically-- evolved from other animals. This happened at a period of time that is not countable or infinite. Is then the sutra, your teaching, and other Buddhist teaching-- teaching about an infinite dimension of man, a finite being? 

Suzuki Roshi: Finite being itself already the revealed infinite being. In this sense we should appreciate our life, moment after moment. And we should appreciate things which we observe, day after day. This is actually to appreciate-- only way to appreciate the infinite-- ultimate-- the First Principle. So infinite should not be just idea. We should appreciate everything without discrimination, not by small mind but by buddha-mind. The appreciation-- true appreciation is by our big-- limitlessly big, limitlessly great big buddha-mind. You have to accept things as it is, after all. 

Another Shosan Ceremony dated Nov.11, 1968

Jack Weller: Docho Roshi, I am troubled by your saying that you don't trust us. 

Suzuki Roshi: [Laughs.] Yeah. I want to encourage you to, you know, stick to something, you know, not in term of good or bad, but anyway [laughs], you know. Like a water stick to [seeks], you know, lower place. That kind of-- without that kind of spirit, I-- we cannot trust anyone, you know, until we can see that kind of practice in some other person. 

Jack: Then we can trust them, right? 

Suzuki Roshi: [Laughs.] Yeah.

Jack: So we can trust you.

Suzuki Roshi: [Laughing.] Ho! 

Jack: But you cannot trust us. 

Suzuki Roshi: Yeah, maybe. I am trying, you know, always to stick to something, not because this is good or bad, you know-- whether it is good or bad. To stick to one thing-- when you stick to one thing only, you know, it may be sometime understood as something good. Sometime it may be understood [as] something which is bad. But whether it is good or bad, it is out of question. If it is helpful, you know, for-- to me and for others, we should stick to one practice. 

Jack: Thank you very much.

[Jack refers to the above exchange in his 2018 talk at the SFZC City Center transcribed below.]

We Are Just a Tiny Speck of Big Being, June, 1970
 -  Lecture to Professor Weller's Visiting Class

DC on Jack Weller from Tassajara Stories draft

Jack Weller was the first person to stay in the building after the ZC had bought it in the early fall of 1969. He slept there all alone until Claude and Bob and then Niels moved in. He had some incense from Eiheiji. That first night he walked around the whole building from room to room sanctifying each with the smoke of that incense. Weller had made an impression on me in the spring of '67 when we met loading demolition debris into a pickup truck from behind the kitchen dining room which became the zendo. He was twenty-one or so and told me about how the year before he'd gone into a hospital for a routine test and was told he had to have immediate open heart surgery. He said it didn't bother him till they described the procedure afterwards - sawing down the middle of his chest and cranking the rib cage open before getting to work with knives and so forth. Maybe that had something to do with him getting interested in practice. Fifty years later he's teaching Buddhism at the California Institute of Integral Studies which grew out of the old American Academy of Asian Studies where Shunryu Suzuki attended an Alan Watts class and met three of his earliest students not long after he'd arrived.

From WB 1974 (1-2) article on Shunryu Suzuki Studies Center p. 13

The Abhidharma presents Buddhist teaching as an analysis of reality in terms of ultimates called "dharmas"- "momentary flashings into the phenomenal world out of an unknown source" (Stcherbatsky). Some familiarity with Abhidharma terminology and concepts is necessary for any concentrated study of Sutras, particularly the Prajna Paramita literature. Also, Zen stories and koans, although expressed in the vivid language of poetry, nature, and daily life, often have Abhidharma doctrines as their background. The Study class of ten weeks, led by Claude Dalenberg and Jack Weller, barely scratched the surface of this huge topic.

Buddhist Art and Iconography. Philip Whalen and Jack Weller were co-leaders, using slides and a large bibliography, and drawing on Philip's own studies of Japanese art and architecture while living in Japan.

Anatman (No-self). Jack Weller again led a class in this most basic doctrine of Buddhism (the subject of his doctoral-thesis-in-progress)

There are many mentions of Jack all over cuke.com such as this one:

Andrew M remembers: in the mid-60s Jack Weller was a student at the UCSB Philosophy Dept, where my mother was departmental secretary, and they became friends; I remember Jack calling my mother's house once from Tassajara, maybe during the first practice period.

Jack Weller was a principal figure in getting the City Center library and book store going in 1970. From a 1971 building officer's meeting about bringing him back into it as a consultant: Jack Weller and library. There was general agreement that to give Jack some position in the library, thus giving him more defined relationship to it would be helpful. ... Yvonne made the point that Jack had done and is doing much good work for the library. Silas will talk to Jack.

From Jack Weller dot com


Weller, Jack S. Touching Creativity’s Deepest Source (2008) in Crossing Boundaries Explorations in Therapy and the Arts-A Festschrift for Paola Knill. S. Levine, editor. Toronto: EGS Press [read ]

Weller, Jack S. The Expressive Arts Therapy Family (1995) in Newsletter of International Expressive Arts Therapy Association. No: I, 1, 4-5  [read PDF here on cuke]

The publications are downloadable. Please click the links below.

Touching Creativity’s Deepest Source

The Expressive Arts Therapy Family


DANCE OF THE TAO   by Jack S. Weller

Here we are
The three of us
A part of, given life by –  the ten-thousand things*
I, the dancer
You, the observer, watching me dance
And the Dance itself
Who arrives like an angel…
These are the three of us
I begin to dance
Gradually – more and more
I enter the Dance
And you, you also
Watching me
Gradually – more and more
Become lost in the Dance that is before you
Now, there are Two
Two…in love with the Dance
Within them
Then again slowly
The division falls away
You and I
Both lost in…the Dance
We have become One
The all consuming Dance
The divine Dance
That is Oneness
And this Dance of Oneness
Is touched by
Is given life by
Is kissed by
The Tao
The mysterious Tao that is so real
Yet can never be captured in words.
Now there is only
The Dance…of the Tao
The Tao…the Tao

道 生 一 Tao gives life to the one
一 生 二 One gives life to two
二 生 三 Two gives life to three
三 生 萬 物 Three gives life to theTen Thousand Things
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42

Jack's page at CIIS (the California Inst. of Integral Studies)

Faculty Emeritus
Expressive Arts Therapy
Counseling Psychology Department
School of Professional Psychology and Health

MA, University of California, Santa Barbara

BA, University of California, Los Angeles

Jack S. Weller, MA, former faculty in Expressive Arts Therapy, Rudolph Schaeffer Professor of Arts and Creativity and founding director of the Expressive Arts program at the Institute, received his BA in Psychology and MA in Philosophy from the University of California (1968), specializing in aesthetics and East-West studies.

His post graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and the San Francisco Zen Center focused on Buddhist art and Buddhist studies; he has also been trained in the healing, therapeutic aspects of the arts. For 10 years Jack was the founding director of the Arts and Consciousness graduate program at JFK University.

His work spans philosophy, mysticism, meditation, aesthetics, sacred and transformative arts, creativity studies, and expressive arts therapy. He is a founding cochair of IEATA.