Richard Dudley Baker is an American Soto Zen master, the founder and guiding teacher of Dharma Sangha—which consists of Crestone Mountain Zen Center located in Crestone, Colorado and the Buddhistisches Studienzentrum (Johanneshof) in Germany's Black Forest. As the American Dharma heir to Shunryu Suzuki, Baker assumed abbotship of the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) shortly before Suzuki's death in 1971. He remained abbot there until 1984, the year he resigned his position after it was disclosed in the previous year that he and the wife of one of SFZC's benefactors had been having an ongoing affair. Despite the controversy connected with his resignation, Baker was instrumental in helping the San Francisco Zen Center to become one of the most successful Zen institutions in the United States.
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 .