The Venerable Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi, a seminal influence on the growth
of Zen Buddhism in the United States, was ordained as a Soto Zen monk at the
age of eleven. He received degrees in Oriental Literature and Philosophy from
Komazawa University and studied at Sojiji, one of the two main Soto monasteries
in Japan. He received Dharma transmission from Hakujun Kuroda, Roshi, in 1955.
He also received approval as a teacher (Inka ) from both Koryu Osaka Roshi,
and Hakuun Yasutani Roshi.
In 1956, Maezumi Roshi came to Los Angeles as a priest at Zenshuji Temple,
the Soto Headquarters of the United States. He devoted his life to laying
a firm foundation for the growth of Zen Buddhism in the West. In1967, he established
the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Its honorary founder is Baian Hakujun Daiosho,
who headed the Soto Sect Supreme Court and was one of the leading figures
of Japanese Soto Zen. Maezumi Roshi established six temples in the United
States and Europe that are formally registered with Soto Headquarters in Japan.
In addition to ZCLA, these include Zen Mountain Center in California; Zen
Community of New York (Tetsugen Glassman, Abbot); Kanzeon Zen Centers of Salt
Lake City, Utah and Europe (Genpo Merzel, Abbot); and Zen Mountain Monastery
in New York (Daido Loori, Abbot). Affiliated centers also include the Great
Mountain Zen Center in Colorado (Shishin Wick, teacher), Zen Community of
Oregon (Chozen Bays, teacher); Three Treasures Zen Community in San Diego
(Jikyo Miller, teacher); Centro Zen de Mexico, Coyoacan (Tesshin Sanderson,
teacher), and Centro Zen de la Cuidad deMexico. In addition, there are over
fifty groups in the Americas and Europe that are affiliated with ZCLA.
In 1976, Maezumi Roshi established the Kuroda Institute for the Study of
Buddhism and Human Values, a non-profit educational organization formed to
promote scholarship on Buddhism in its historical, philosophical, and cultural
ramifications. The Institute serves the scholarly community by providing a
forum in which scholars can gather at conferences and colloquia. The Institute
also publishes a book series with the University of Hawaii Press devoted to
the translation of East Asian Buddhist classics and presentations of scholarly
works from its conferences. Maezumi Roshi also founded the Dharma Institute
in Mexico City. Maezumi Roshi founded the White Plum Asanga, named after his
father Baian Hakujun Daiosho.
He transmitted the Dharma to twelve successors: Bernard Tetsugen Glassman
(NY), Dennis Genpo Merzel (UT & Europe), Charlotte Joko Beck (CA), Jan Chozen
Bays (OR), John Daido Loori (NY), Gerry Shishin Wick (CO), John Tesshin Sanderson
(Mexico), Alfred Jitsudo Ancheta (CA), Charles Tenshin Fletcher (CA), Susan
Myoyu Andersen (IL), Nicolee Jikyo Miller (CA), and William Nyogen Yeo (CA).
These twelve successors have further transmitted the Dharma to nine"second-generation"
successors. In America, Maezumi Roshi ordained 68 Zen priests and gave the
lay Buddhist precepts to over 500 people. As a major contribution to the transmission
of Buddhist teachings to the West, Maezumi Roshi was instrumental in bringing
to realization the formation of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) of
American Soto Zen teachers. Maezumi Roshi also promoted exchange programs
among priests and lay practitioners between the United States and Japan. He
had published commentaries on major Buddhist works, and his collected works
will be published posthumously.
At the age of 64 Maezumi Roshi died suddenly in Tokyo, Japan in the early
morning hours of Monday, May 15 (Japanese time), 1995. Maezumi Roshi is survived by his wife Martha Ekyo Maezumi and
their three children, Kirsten Mitsuyo, Yuri Jundo and Shira Yoshimi. Intimate funeral services and cremation were held in Tokyo,
Japan on May 19 to 20, 1995. The main funeral was held on Sunday, August 27,
1995 in Los Angeles, CA.