John Daido Loori (1931-2009)

daidoWhen I arrived home last night from the Stephen Batchelor talk in NYC, I received the news that John Daido Loori, Roshi — founder and abbott of Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY — passed from this life at 7:30 that morning.

Most of my Zen training has included the works of Daido Roshi. My introduction to zazen was his book The Still Point, which I received with the meditation supplies, zafu and zabuton I ordered from the monastery. I consider The Eight Gates of Zen the beginning of my Zen training. After reading it, I sought out a local teacher — Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts — who coincidentally is of the same lineage as Daido Roshi. His book The Heart of Being formed the core of my jukai studies. Perhaps my favorite book is The Zen of Creativity, a marvelous guide to art as Zen practice.

I “discovered” Daido Roshi many years ago when I was searching the Internet for information about local Zen teachers and sanghas. I came across the site for Zen Mountain Monastery. And I was floored to find that it was on Mt. Tremper, a mountain named (as I had learned from my genealogy research) for one of my ancestral families. Not exactly local at two hours away, but how could I not visit?

My wife and I attended a Sunday service where we had the good fortune to witness Daido Roshi in dharma combat with some of his senior students. The monastery and the mountain were beautiful, and we enjoyed a fine lunch in the dining hall. It was a wonderful day.

Thank you, Daido Roshi.

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