Here is the first major collection of the teachings of Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995), one of the first Japanese Zen masters to bring Zen to the West and founding abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles and Zen Mountain Center in Idyllwild, California. These short, inspiring readings illuminate Zen practice in simple, eloquent language. Topics include zazen and Zen koans, how to appreciate your life as the life of the Buddha, and the essential matter of life and death.
"Appreciate Your Life " conveys Maezumi Roshi's unique spirit and teaching style, as well as his timeless insights into the practice of Zen. Never satisfied with merely conveying ideas, his "teisho, " the Zen talks he gave weekly and during retreats, evoked personal questions from his students. Maezumi Roshi insisted that his students address these questions in their own lives. As he often said, "Be intimate with your life."
The readings are not teachings or instructions in the traditional sense. They are transcriptions of the master's teisho, living presentations of his direct experience of Zen realization. These teisho are crystalline offerings of Zen insight intended to reach beyond the student's intellect to her or his deepest essence.
About the Author
Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995) was a seminal figure in the transmission of Zen Buddhism to the West. He was founding abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) from 1967 to 1995 and of Zen Mountain Center from 1978 to 1995. He and his successors also founded Zen centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Mexico. Maezumi Roshi established The Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values, which promotes Buddhist scholarship and publishes, with the University of Hawaii Press, translations of East Asian Buddhist classics. He coauthored "On Zen Practice: Foundation of Practice, On Zen Practice II: Body, Breath and Mind," and "The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment." He also provided the commentary for "The Way of Everyday Life: Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan."
Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi (1931-95) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher and roshi, and lineage holder in the Soto, Rinzai and Harada-Yasutani traditions of Zen. He combined the Rinzai use of koans and the Soto emphasis on shikantaza in his teachings, influenced by his years studying under Hakuun Yasutani in the Harada-Yasutani school. He founded or co-founded several institutions and practice centers, including the Zen Center of Los Angeles, White Plum Asanga, Yokoji Zen Mountain Center, and the Zen Mountain Monastery. Taizan Maezumi left behind twelve Dharma successors, appointed sixty-eight priests and gave Buddhist precepts to more than five hundred practitioners. Along with Zen teachers like Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, Seung Sahn Dae Soen Sa Nim, and Venerable Hsuan Hua, Maezumi greatly influenced the American Zen landscape. Several Dharma Successors of his-including Tetsugen Bernard Glassman, Dennis Merzel, John Daido Loori, Jan Chozen Bays, Gerry Shishin Wick, Charlotte Joko Beck, and William Nyogen Yeo-have gone on to found Zen communities of their own. Maezumi died unexpectedly while visiting Japan in 1995.