To Be of Benefit

An interview with Ryushin Paul Haller, former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center

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Kodiak GreenwoodHow did you end up in San Francisco? When I was in Thailand I met someone from San Francisco, and I was very impressed with him. He’d been here with Suzuki Roshi, and when Suzuki died he went to Thailand to be a monk. So I cut short my plan [to try different monasteries in the East] and came here.

You arrived in San Francisco in 1974. Did you join the Zen Center right away? Totally. I got off the plane and came here, knocked on the door, and said, “Hey.” And they said, “You can’t just turn up!” And in good Irish fashion I just looked at the guy and said, “Well, I just have.”

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