John Daido Loori
Jersey City, New Jersey
June 14, 1931 — October 9, 2009
John Daido Loori, Roshi, was a first-generation American Zen Master, artist, author, and environmental activist, and one of leading figures in American Buddhism in the 20th Century. He was one of only 3 Dharma holders (along with Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi and Genpo Merzel, Roshi) to receive transmission in both the Soto and Rinzai lineages of Zen from Taizan Maezumi, Roshi. He was the founder of the Mountains and Rivers Order, Zen Mountain Monastery, Fire Lotus Temple (Zen Center of NYC), and the Zen Environmental Studies Institute (ZESI). He was the author of over a dozen books, and his photography has been displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
Roshi Loori served in the Navy, and worked as a chemist, nature photographer, and for the ACLU. After having received Dharma transmission from Maezumi Roshi, Daido devoted his life to the Dharma, writing, speaking, establishing businesses, and teaching at Zen Mountain Monastery, where he served as the Abbott until his death. His legacy of creating a uniquely American monastic and lay path for modern Buddhists is one of the most extensive and revolutionary of the last century.
Daido Roshi was a deeply realized and compassionate teacher who dedicated his life to helping others to live in equanimity and compassion, and his work lives on in the lives and teachings of his Dharma holders, and the work of his lay practitioners and monastics.