On Becoming a Teacher

An Interview with Jakusho Kwong-roshi

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2018 Chronicles Funding Drive

ALL DONATIONS DOUBLED

$61,016

Donated

$80,000

Goal

The Chronicles brings you teachings, tributes and a place to study and practice

Thank you to the Pema Chodron Foundation and other supporters for providing matching funds. All donations will be doubled.

Funds raised during this campaign will support the work of the Chronicles and Ocean. The Chronicles brings you teachings, stories, tributes and news. Ocean is a place to study and practice.

Our support comes only from you, our readers and listeners

That Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Shunryu Suzuki-roshi shared a close friendship is familiar lineage lore for many and a central story in the history of Buddhism coming to the West. It is also part of the living memory of those who knew both teachers. Perhaps Jakusho Kwong-roshi stands as a premier witness of this friendship. Kwong-roshi became one of Suzuki-roshi’s dharma heirs and drew inspiration and guidance from Trungpa Rinpoche after Suzuki-roshi’s death. Perhaps not a lot of people know that Kwong-roshi erected a stupa on his land, Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, in honor of Trungpa Rinpoche – that is how deep the gratitude and lineage exchange goes.

This video is taken from footage I gathered at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center during two trips I made in 2008 and 2009. My initial intention was to interview Kwong-roshi about his relationship with Chögyam Trungpa and about the drala principle. But Roshi went on to discuss many other subjects – and in the handful of days I spent during my visits I received an intimate glimpse of life at SMZC (one that added to times I did retreat there in the 1980s). Roshi was very generous with his time, as was his wife Shinko, his son Nyoze, and the other residents.

In this footage, Kwong-roshi talks about what it means to become a teacher, for having to become a teacher was the position Kwong-roshi found himself in in 1971, the year Suzuki-roshi died. In this interview, Kwong-roshi shares many aspects of this journey, and also gives us glimpses into what it meant to know and study with Suzuki-roshi and Chögyam Trungpa.

– Bill Scheffel – 7 June 2011

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Bill Scheffel
Bill Scheffel was a graduate of Naropa University, where he received an MFA in Creative Writing in 1994. He taught Chance, Synchronicity and Mind-writing for ten years in Boulder and throughout the U.S, and classes in creative non-fiction and poetry at Naropa University for many years. His own writing teachers include Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman and Diane di Prima, among others. Bill became a student of CTR in 1976, and began to teach Shambhala Training in 1980, which he has done since then. Bill also taught the Shambhala Meditation Practicum at Naropa University from 1991 to 2004. Bill died on July 8, in Boulder, Colorado. Please visit his tribute page.