Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi

Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995)

Genpo Roshi's Teacher and Honorary Founder of Kanzeon Zen Center, Maezumi Roshi was one of the first great teachers who brought Zen from Japan to the West. Maezumi Roshi was Genpo Roshi's teacher.

Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi was born in 1931. His father, Baian Hakujun Kuroda Roshi, was one of the leading figures in Japanese Soto Zen. He was ordained as a Soto monk at age eleven and studied oriental literature and philosophy at Komazawa University.

He completed his Soto monk's training at Sojiji monastery, one of the two main Soto monasteries in Japan. In 1955, he received Dharma Transmission from his father. He later received final approval as an independent Zen Master (Inka) from both Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Koryu Osaka Roshi (a lay Rinzai teacher), thus becoming a Master in three Zen lineages, a rarely encountered achievement.

Maezumi Roshi came to Los Angeles in 1956 to serve as a priest at Zenshuji Temple, the Soto headquarters in the United States. In 1967, he established the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) and dedicated it to his father as the honorary founder. Maezumi Roshi became an American citizen and worked tirelessly for 28 years to contribute to the transmission of Buddhist teachings to the West and to transmit the Dharma to Western successors. His clearly articulated goal was to cultivate Western Zen teachers so that the Buddha Way might flourish in its natural Western expression under their guidance. He was instrumental in the formation of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) of American Soto Zen teachers and founded the Kuroda Institute, dedicated to Zen scholarship and translation. Maezumi Roshi was himself an outstanding translator of Dogen Zenji.

Maezumi Roshi transmitted the Dharma to twelve successors, a community he designated the White Plum Asanga, named in honor of his father Baian Hakujun, whose name “Baian” means “white plum.” These successors include Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, Dennis Genpo Merzel (now President and Leader of the White Plum Asanga), Charlotte Joko Beck, Jan Chozen Bays, John Daido Loori, Gerry Shishin Wick, John Tesshin Sanderson, Alfred Jitsudo Ancheta, Charles Tenshin Fletcher, Susan Myoyu Andersen, Nicolee Jikyo Miller, and William Nyogen Yeo. These twelve successors have further transmitted the Dharma to second and third generation successors. In the United States and Europe, Maezumi Roshi ordained 68 Zen priests and gave lay Buddhist precepts to over 500 people. Genpo Roshi is now the President and Leader of the White Plum Asanga.

Maezumi Roshi established six temples in the United States and Europe that are formally registered with Soto Headquarters in Japan. They include the Zen Center of Los Angeles, Zen Mountain Center in California, Zen Community of New York, Kanzeon Zen Centers in Salt Lake City and Europe, and the Zen Mountain Monastery in New York.

Just before his death, Maezumi Roshi gave Inka to his senior disciple, Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi, who in turn transmitted Inka to Genpo Roshi. Genpo Roshi in turn has transmitted Inka to Daido Loori and Catherine Genno Pages.

Maezumi Roshi died unexpectedly in May 1995 in Japan at the age of 64. He is survived by his wife Martha Ekyo Maezumi and their three children, Kirsten Mitsuyo, Jurui Jundo, and Shira Yoshimi, all of Idyllwild, California.