Kobun Chino Otogawa

Remembering a warm-hearted roshiStephan Bodian

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By the time I reached graduate school in 1970, I was a born-again Zen Buddhist. After minoring in Asian religions and cultures in college and meditating sporadically at the Zen Studies Society in Manhattan, I was determined to shave my head, don long black robes, and head off to the monastery for the rigorous training I’d read about in books. I chose Stanford over Yale when I learned that Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the first (and at the time, only) Zen monastery in the West, was situated just down the California coast from Palo Alto, in the wilderness near Big Sur. With grad school as leverage, I figured, I could gradually transition to more full-time practice.

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