Shunryu Suzuki was a Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, and is renowned for founding the first Zen Buddhist monastery outside Asia. Suzuki founded San Francisco Zen Center which, along with its affiliate temples, comprises one of the most influential Zen organizations in the United States. A book of his teachings, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, is one of the most popular books on Zen and Buddhism in the West.
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 .
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 .
According to tradition, Chan was introduced around 500 CE by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk teaching dhyāna.
Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism teaches śūnyatā, "emptiness", which is also emphasized by Zen.
But another important doctrine is the buddha-nature, the idea that all human beings have the possibility to awaken.
All living creatures are supposed to have the Buddha-nature, but don't realize this as long as they are not .
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 .