October 09, 2009

Descending the Mountain: John Daido Loori steps down

UPDATE 3: Here is Daido Roshi's New York Times obituary.

UPDATE 2: Roshi John Daido Loori left this sphere of practice at 7:30AM this morning. If you would like to read Zen Master Bernie Glassman's eulogy, please click here.

UPDATE: The Mountains and Rivers Order reports that Daido Roshi has only a few days left to live. The ceremony scheduled for this weekend has been canceled.

From October 1st:

I heard this morning from several people that John Daido Loori Roshi was stepping down as head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, "descending the mountain." And today the following announcement appeared courtesy of Monkey Mind:

This past Sunday (John Daido Loori) Roshi met with the Zen Mountain Monastery Board of Directors to let them know he feels it is time for him step down as Abbot General of the Order and to pass his responsibilities on to the next generation.

He asked that Shugen Sensei step into the position of Abbot General, and that this go into effect immediately. He reiterated his previously stated wishes that Shugen Sensei assume the role of Abbot of the Zen Center of New York City and Ryushin Sensei assume the abbot's position of Zen Mountain Monastery.

There will be a formal ceremony at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, New York on October 11th.

Daido Roshi appeared many times in Tricycle over the years. He was profiled by John Kain, a former Tricycle staffer, in the Winter 2006 issue: Tackling Enlightenment. He was interviewed by Jeff Zaleski in the Winter 1999 issue: Straight Ahead. His gruff kindness and hard-won wisdom will be missed.

[Photo courtesy John Kain]

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Tom Davenport's picture

John helped me when I lost my youngest son in a traffic accident. I was his contemporary in the practice, but came to him as a student and he graciously taught and provided solace in a sad time.

edrie's picture

Zen Mountain Monastery was a solace to my soul at a time I needed it most. Though I was only there for one weekend, I have held my memories of the sense there for a long time, returning to the moment just after the last of the chime dissipates to regain center and quiet my too-active mind. Daido Roshi and the people of ZMM were welcoming, and I will always appreciate the gift of their kindness.

Anita's picture

I have been to ZMM many times in the past several years for weekend retreats and weeklong workshoos. Daido Roshi will always be part of the mountain aqnd rivers that are in that place and the place we all abide.

Michol's picture

I found a copy of Mountain Record many years ago in a car repair shop in Clinton, NY. Subscribed for many years thereafter and so got to know Daido Loori, in print. Even saw him once at Hamilton College. I wish him a gentle space of retirement time.

susan carr's picture

I did a weekend intensive at ZMM and also a Zen arts week. These short visits changed me for ever. Although, I have experienced some tough times I have always been able to remember those long moments of introspection and guidance. Some of my happiest memories are of Zen Mountain Monastery. Thank you Roshi for your great work and for being a teacher who gave me so much.

Descending the Mountain – Roshi Daido Loori retires « 108zen's picture

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Genju's picture

My 50th birthday present from my husband was a calligraphy weekend retreat at ZMM. I was deeply moved by the practice there and particularly by the insightful guidance of Ryushin in a private meeting. Roshi Daido Loori's teachings, in person and through his writings, are one of the cornerstones of my practice. I bow in deep gratitude for his presence in my life.

Lynette Genju Monteiro

Angel Craddock's picture

I attended a Zen Gardening workshop at ZMM in the late 90's. I learned much from both the workshop and the practices there. I didn't meet with Daido, but saw him during the weekend and heard his dharma talk on that Sunday. I met Shugen Sensei then and know he will be an excellent Abbot General.

Jaime McLeod's picture

I can't help but wonder how many hundreds -thousands? - of people's first experience with Buddhist practice happened at Zen Mountain Monastery. Buddhism in the west wouldn't be the same without Daido's contributions.

I've never been a student in the Mountains and Rivers Order, but I visited ZMM once, several years ago, for one of their "Intro to Zen Practice" weekends. It was a deeply affecting experience, and one that I've carried with me for a long time. That weekend solidified my desire to find a teacher and make a real commitment to practice. What Daido created there is a truly special thing. I will always be immensely grateful to him for that.

With nine deep bows.