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Our Near Ancestor: Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi

We celebrate Founders' Month in November each year as it is the birth and death month of our Founder Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi (1912-1997).

When we think of Buddhist ancestors, we look hundreds or thousands of years into the past.

Yet our Order is named for an ancestor who lived until 1997. Our lineage continues through him and his students. He is our near ancestor.

What this means is a question worth pondering. For example, our Order chants the name of specific women ancestors as we do those of male lineage holders. To me, this is an important act. It is recognizing and honoring women who influenced the development of Buddhism from Shakyamuni's time. Soto Zen has not always chanted both in our celebration of Bussori/Ancestors. This is more than a historical perspective as we are they as we are, as well, as are our lineage holders. We honor both.

Honorifics were names given in India, China, and Japan, to honor a person after they die. This accolade is not a Western practice. However, there are ways O'Roshi shared the Dharma that is worthy of mention. He brought Soto Zen to Americans from 1939 through 1997. Indeed he may have been the first to establish a Zen Temple for persons other than those of Japanese descent.

He was, in fact, a Bridge-Builder (橋渡し hashi-watashi) spanning language, culture, war, politics, peace, and ordination of non-Japanese priests in America. A legacy to each of us. it seems fitting to offer: Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi-(橋渡し hashi-watashi

( * with bows for Keiko-san for her translation.)

On Sunday, November 29, 2020, all members of the Silent Thunder Order will have the opportunity, through Zoom, to join O'Roshi's student Hojo Taiun-Roshi in a memorial service and Bussori/Ancestor chanting...




During our regular Tuesday night November 24, 2020, The Falmouth Soto Zen Sangaku will celebrate our Tenth Anniversary, please join us!

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