Lion's Roar


WHEN MEL WEITSMAN DIED in early January, he left behind a legacy that continues to unfold in American Zen. A Soto priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, his dharma name was Hakuryu Sojun—White Dragon/Essence of Purity. As a respected teacher in his own right, he was known as Sojun Roshi.

In 1967, Suzuki Roshi encouraged Sojun to start a practice place in Berkeley. For fifty-four years, his heart was home at Berkeley Zen Center, even while he served nine years as co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, one of the most important Zen communities in the U.S., and led intensive Zen training periods at Tassajara, the community’s monastery near Big Sur.

Sojun Roshi’s important legacy includes more than thirty transmitted disciples who lead Zen centers around the U.S. It also includes nearly three thousand recorded lectures, spanning the territory of Buddhism, Zen, and the world we inhabit and create.

Here are a handful of excerpts from Sojun Roshi’s talks that shine with his deep and ordinary wisdom. When I use this word “ordinary,” I mean it in a way that is at once precious and plain. This is the mind and practice Sojun Roshi inherited from his teacher, ordo

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Lion's Roar

Lion's Roar2 min read
After The Fire
ONE WINTER NIGHT, almost a decade ago, I sat on a city bus full of passengers. But we weren’t going anywhere. This bus had been sent by the fire department to keep us warm. Outside the bus window, our world was falling apart—our apartment building wa
Lion's Roar1 min read
The Buddhist Guide To Mindfulness
Uncover the spiritual roots of mindfulness meditation and deepen your practice with this just-reissued special edition from Lion’s Roar. Featuring teachings and commentaries from Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dzogchen Ponlop Rin
Lion's Roar2 min readPhilosophy
It’s The True Nature Of Things
It is important for us to avoid the misapprehension that emptiness is an absolute reality or an independent truth. Emptiness must be understood as the true nature of things and events. Thus we read, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form; emptiness is