HomeStories briefbriefReader's CommentsFunding

What's new?

Announcing: Ocean's Autumn Classes

Community Talk from 1977

Tribute to Selda Chender

Stayed in Tibet

Halifax News: Robert Dvorkin Plays Benefit Concert

Boulder News: A public talk and seminar with Sam Bercholz

Honouring the
Vajra Regent

Two Opportunities for Intensive Meditation Retreat Practice

Tribute to Pamela Krasney

Tribute to David Harding

Climbing a Staircase, a Brief Encounter by William Hope

Lama Chime on Trungpa Rinpoche 50 Years On

Tribute to Jill Scott

Very sad news from Karma Senge Rinpoche

Derek Kolleeny Part 2: Westchester Buddhist Center

Joining Heart and Mind: An Evening with the Karmapa

First hand account from Nepal

Emptiness, Luminosity, and Compassion: The Path of Tantra Mahamudra, With Dorje Loppon, Lodro Dorje

Interview with Vana Jakic

Tribute to Gail Mueller

A book review by Alan Sloan

May Nepal Endure as Vajra Nature, by Clarke Warren

A conversation with Derek Kolleeny about Trungpa Rinpoche's Diplomatic Corps

Ocean Class for vajrayana students based on the Vidyadhara's 1976 EVAM seminar

An evening with the Karmapa at the New York Ethical Cultural Society: 14 April 2015

Please Give Me Space, by Joan Whitacre

A Stone for your Headstone, by Deanna Dana

Trungpa Rinpoche on "The Teacher"

Ongoing Tributes to Chogyam Trungpa

The Winter It Is Past, sung by Jane Condon

Chogyam the Translator

The Karmapa speaks on interdependence at Harvard Divinity School

Parinirvana Weekend at Dorje Denma Ling with Acharya Marty Janowitz

Tribute to Aba McHardy

Book Giveaway: Mindfulness in Action

Buddhadharma Without Credentials

Smile at Fear, An Introduction to Chogyam Trungpa's Teachings on Bravery

Tribute to
Tom Ryken

Walking the Bodhisattva talk, with Marty Janowitz

Milarepa Day Offering

newsBiographyBibliographyChronologyContact UsLinks

Jakusho Kwong-roshi describes being with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


Jakusho Kwong-roshi is a lineage heir of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and was also close to Trungpa Rinpoche. He is the founder and abbot of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center outside of Santa Rosa, California, and has been teaching Zen in the United States and Europe for more than thirty years. In 1995, he was given the title of Dendo Kyoshi, Zen Teacher, by the Soto School in Japan. He is one of nine Western Zen teachers to receive this acknowledgment. "Zen," he says, "is the aliveness we bring to each moment." Please visit for more information about Jakusho Kwong-roshi, and the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

This interview emerged from a film project that Bill Scheffel began in the summer of 2008, provisionally titled, Lineage: Jakusho Kwong-roshi and Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. About this project, Bill wrote:

What led me to ask Kwong-roshi if I could interview him was the time I spent in Cambodia (2005 to 2007). Life in Cambodia occurs at a far slower and more "elemental" way than in industrialized countries. In Cambodia an uncanny "inner experience" was constantly with me: that being in Cambodia was like being with Trungpa Rinpoche. Life in Phnom Penh, especially, felt very "in my face" — intimate, chaotic, disturbing, loving and inescapably awake.

On returning to the U.S., I began to interview some of my friends—students of The Vidyadhara—and ask them the question, "What was it like to be around the body of Trungpa Rinpoche?" This question seems to evoke something more than our so-called stories of being with Trungpa Rinpoche. Perhaps it is a more difficult question to answer, coming from a deeper memory or less tangible impression. Perhaps the question evokes ways in which Rinpoche is "haunting us along with the dralas" even now. This is the question I asked Kwong Roshi in this interview.

Kwong-roshi has a profound connection with Trungpa Rinpoche—and with the drala principle. Sonoma Mountain Zen Center has hosted Level Drala of Shambhala Training for the Bay Area sangha for many years. Roshi and his wife Shinko have, for three decades, invoked the dralas of Sonoma Mountain—and no doubt many lineages—through their loving sacrifice to create a rural practice center and carry on the Soto lineage of Suzuki-roshi.

Bill Scheffel
Bill Scheffel is a writer, filmmaker, and long-time student of Trungpa Rinpoche. You can learn about Bill's documentary film, Cambodia: Lord Mukpo's Dream Time from his website -—where the film can also be ordered and where Bill has written extensively about his travels and about the drala principle.

Thank you to Bill for making this video available on the Chronicles.