Issan Dorsey, born Tommy Dorsey, Jr., was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher, Dharma heir of Zentatsu Richard Baker and onetime abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center (HSZC) located in the Castro district of San Francisco, California. Earlier in his life he had worked as a prostitute and a drag queen, and had struggled at times with drug addiction. He died of complications from AIDS in 1990.
Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.
It is the Japanese line of the Chinese Cáodòng school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Dòngshān Liánjiè.
It emphasizes Shikantaza, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content.
The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.
With about 14,000 temples, Sōtō .
San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC), is a network of affiliated Sōtō Zen practice and retreat centers in the San Francisco Bay area, comprising City Center or Beginner's Mind Temple, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center.
The sangha was incorporated by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and a group of his American students in 1962.
Today SFZC is the largest Sōtō organization in the .
Zen was introduced in the United States at the end of the 19th century by Japanese teachers who went to America to serve groups of Japanese immigrants and become acquainted with the American culture.
Though its origins are distant, today there are plenty of prominent American Zen .