Jakusho Kwong

Year of birth : 1935
Website : www.smzc.net/


" Most people are drowning in their delusional ignorance without knowing that their suffering was created by themselves. ”

“ Don't chase after thoughts, and don't push them away. Just let them come in and go out like a swinging door. ”

Renunciation is the essence of the Dharmas because through renunciation we give up the dualistic conditions and strong ideas of self that separate us from reality. This is exactly what we are surrendering. "

Books by the Master

" No Beginning, No End: The Intimate Heart of Zen "


Jakusho Kwong (born November 14, 1935), born William Kwong, is a Chinese-American Zen Buddhist teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. Jakusho Kwong was born in Santa Rosa, California on November 14, 1935. He has been teaching Zen in the United States and Europe for more than thirty years. He is the founder and abbot of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center outside of Santa Rosa, California. In 1995 he was given the title of Dendo Kyoshi, Zen Teacher, by the Soto School in Japan. He is one of nine Western Zen teachers to receive this acknowledgment. "Zen," he says, " is the aliveness we bring to each moment."

In the 1950s, while studying to be an art teacher at San Jose State University, Kwong was in a car accident that nearly killed him. He took a temporary job as a postman to improve the strength in his legs, which had been badly damaged in the accident. He soon married and took a job as a sign painter, leaving school early due to clashes with his art instructor. Kwong and his wife Laura were looking for an alternative lifestyle at this time, when Bill happened upon an article in a Japanese newspaper with a feature story on Shunryu Suzuki.

In 1960, he began studying Soto Zen with Shunryu Suzuki in San Francisco and became one of his first students. In 1971 Suzuki began preparations to give Dharma transmission to Kwong, having given transmission to Richard Baker that previous year, but Suzuki died soon after without carrying it out. After preparatory study with Kobun chino, Kwong later completed Dharma transmission with Hoitsu Suzuki, Shunryu Suzuki's son and first Dharma heir, in keeping with Suzuki-roshi's intention.

He received ordination at San Francisco Zen Center in 1970 and began establishing Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in 1973 as his commemoration to his teacher. His son Demian is now a Soto priest active at Genjo-Ji. Kwong-Roshi completed Dharma transmission in 1978 through Hoitsu Suzuki-roshi at Rinsoin, Japan. This authorized him as Dharma successor to Suzuki-roshi's lineage. Kwong-roshi travels annually to the Southwest, Iceland and Poland to lead sesshins for affiliate sitting groups. He teaches ordinary Zen in everyday life as nothing special but the aliveness we bring to each moment.