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Philip Kapleau dies on May 6th at 91. 

Thanks to Jamie Avera for the following sad message about the passing of one of the people most dedicated to opening the West up to Zen. Next is a comment by me and then an obituary from the Washington Post sent by Paul Shippee. - DC

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Roshi Philip Kapleau passed away yesterday at Rochester Zen Center, about 3:30pm. According to a friend of mine who is a long-time member of the sangha, he passed away quietly during a chanting session, surrounded by students, in the RZC garden. Roshi's body will be placed in a casket in the Zendo for three days, and will then be buried at RZC's country retreat center. - JA

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As Hoitsu Suzuki, Suzuki Roshi's son, said to me when I called him to tell him that Katagiri Roshi had died, "I can't find the words to say what I feel." Condolences to his students, friends, and family. Thanks for all the hard work, for your teaching and the disciples you ordained, for the Three Pillars of Zen which opened so many eyes, and for your harmonica playing (which I only heard about - from Alan Ginsberg) Kapleau Roshi! I never met you but I appreciate you. What a tremendous contribution to us all. Nine to the ninth power bows to you. - DC


From the Washington Post:

Philip Kapleau Zen Center Founder, Author

Philip Kapleau, 91, author of "The Three Pillars of Zen" and founder of the Rochester Zen Center in Upstate New York, died May 6 at the Zen center. He had Parkinson's disease. Mr. Kapleau was born in New Haven, Conn., and became a court reporter in Connecticut. While serving as chief court reporter for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, and later covering the Tokyo War Crimes Trials after World War II, he felt compelled to devote his life to spiritual teaching. While in Japan, he became interested in Zen Buddhism and sought out D.T. Suzuki and other Zen teachers. He was ordained by Hakuun Yasutani Roshi in 1965 and given permission by him to teach. He was one of the first Westerners allowed to observe and record dokusan, the private interviews between a Zen teacher and student. The resulting book, "The Three Pillars of Zen," was published in 1965 and quickly became the standard introductory text on Zen practice. It is still in print and has been translated into 12 languages.

2004 The Washington Post Company


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