The venerable Koun Taizan Maezumi Roshi
He was born in 1931 in Japan and was ordained as a monk at age 11. His determination and commitment to practice led him to become a teacher and to receive Dharma transmission in three different lineages: first from his father, Baian Hakujun Kuroda Roshi, and later in both the Soto and Rinzai Schools of Zen (Inka and the title of "Roshi") from Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Koryu Osaka Roshi.
In 1956, he arrived in Los Angeles to serve as a priest in the North American Soto Headquarters, Zenshu-ji temple. In 1967 he established the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) and dedicated it to the memory of his father.
Maezumi Roshi´s teaching focused on the practice of zazen. "It is true," he once said, "that the manifest form of Buddhadharma and all the sutras is simply you, your life as it is. But do you really know what that life is, or do you still live in the cocoon of ego, like a caterpillar that refuses to open its wings?"
The practice Maezumi Roshi taught was simple: Just don´t think! But the transformative power of this practice can only be realized if you practice without expectations. Over the years, Maezumi Roshi ordained 68 priests and gave the lay precepts to over 500 people. He had 12 successors, the last of whom was William Nyogen Yeo, Roshi, Abbot of our temple.
Maezumi Roshi's interest in cultivating Zen in Mexico brought him to our country numerous times. When he died in 1995, a group of practitioners who already had a real commitment to Zen meditation, wanting to ensure the continuity of Maezumi Roshi's teaching, asked Nyogen Roshi to become the teacher for the Mexican sangha.
This Dharma legacy is beyond measure. Maezumi Roshi's light illuminates our sangha and guides our practice. His picture on our altar reminds us that practice is life and life is a treasure.