Al,  I know the following was a rhetorical question:

Bill: I was introduced in the 1960's by a couple of Japanese zen
masters living very modestly in Los Angeles, <

Al:  Whatever happened to those kind of people?

...but I'll answer anyway.

One of the zen masters, the older one who was in his late 60's when I met
him, died about 4 years later.  I don't believe anyone in the global zen
community remembers him, and I'm sure anyone who ever met or had the
privilege of just 'being' with him will ever forget him.  In many ways I
still consider him 'my' zen master.  I started koan study under him.  I have
a calligraphy of his which has a rendering of Mu.

The other one, the younger who was in his early 30's when I met him, died
about 5 years ago or more.  He became very successful and had a lot of
followers.  I continued koan study under him.  He came to my house in Oregon
once for a local reception, and granted me dokusan (private interview with
the teacher) in my bedroom.  My life eventually took me elsewhere with other
demands on my time, and I gradually lost direct contact with him.  He and
his sangha had some rough spots along the way, but I never ever thought he
had 'sold-out'.  He was the genuine article.  I'm sure everyone in the
global zen community knows of and remembers him.  I have a calligraphy of
his which is a rendering of Mt. Fuji.

Both these teachers gave and gave and gave to me, a long-haired, bearded
hippie, without any suggestion of repayment from me.  Later in my life when
I did have resources available to me I did contribute financially to the
sangha, and very generously I think.  This is what has shaped my ideas and
practice of zen, and consequently my entire life.

I haven't really tried to hook-up with any other zen masters/teachers for a
long, long time.  I practice on my own.  That's not good, but not all bad.
The Yahoo! Zen Forum is a good outlet for me to explore some zen-related
issues with like-minded people.  I like to think of it as an e-sangha, but I
don't look for teachers here.

That doesn't mean I don't learn some things from time to time - like cool
pick-up lines from Al and Charlie.


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