Kyozan Joshu Sasaki

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Kyozan Joshu Sasaki with students at the Scheibbs Buddhist Center , 1991

Kyozan Joshu Sasaki ( Japanese 佐 々 木 承 周 , Sasaki Jōshū ; born April 1, 1907 ; † July 27, 2014 in Los Angeles ) was a Japanese Rinzai - Rōshi who had lived in the United States since 1962 .


Joshu Sasaki was the founder and abbot of the Mount Baldy Zen Center , which was built on Mount San Antonio in the San Gabriel Mountains of California in the 1970s and where u. a. Leonard Cohen lived for a while. He was line head of the Rinzai-ji order, to which numerous Zen centers in the USA and Europe ( Düsseldorf , Kempten (Allgäu) , Augsburg , Vienna , Oslo ) belong.

Despite his old age, he worked as a Zen teacher until February 2012 , partly in the monastic training center Mount Baldy, partly in the main temple Rinzai-ji in Los Angeles.

After a serious illness, he announced his retirement as Abbot of the Mt. Baldy Zen Center on November 10, 2012 at the age of 105, which ended his unprecedented teaching activity, which had lasted a total of 84 years.

He received his training as a Zen monk at the age of 14 in the Zuiryo-ji temple. At the age of 21 Joshu was ordained a Zen priest (Osho) and was given the name Kyozan. Shortly thereafter, Joshu Sasaki followed his teacher, Joten Soko Miura Roshi, who had been appointed Archabbot ( Kanchō ) in Kyoto , in the Myōshin-ji , the main temple of the largest Rinzai Zen lineage in Japan. After he had received the title of Rōshi with the name Denkyo-shitsu in 1948 , he took over the position of abbot in the temple of Yotoku-in . In 1953 he left the Yotoku-in and became abbot at Shoju-an in Iiyama , Nagano Prefecture, with the task of building this temple, in which Shoju Ronin (Dōkyō Etan, 1642–1721), the master of the reformer Hakuin Ekaku, had worked. to renovate.

In 1962 he decided to travel to the USA to teach Zen to interested students in the West. Over the years he has become one of the most respected and influential Zen masters in the US and Europe. Some of his students, consecrated as nuns and monks, have become Zen teachers themselves and run Zen centers in several states in the USA, in Germany , Norway and Austria . He also gave one of the most famous Zen teachers in the German-speaking world, Genro Seiun Osho , the authority to teach the Kōan practice. For years, Sasaki also traveled regularly to Austria to lead Sesshins at the Buddhist Center Scheibbs and to give his European students the opportunity to hear his Teishōs and to practice koan.

Sasaki were accused of sexual assault on schoolgirls, some of which went back a long way. Journalist Mark Oppenheimer reported on it in the New York Times.

Joshu Sasaki died in July 2014 at the age of 107 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.


  • Joshu Sasaki: Buddha is the Center of Gravity . Lama Foundation 1974. (90-page brochure in English)

Web links

Commons : Kyozan Joshu Sasaki  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Oppenheimer in the NY Times
  2. Joshu Sasaki Dies