John Daido Loori, 1931-2009
Post #1411 • October 30, 2009, 9:22 AM • 7 Comments
John Daido Loori died earlier this month. Born in Jersey City, he went on to receive dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi Roshi, found the Mountains and Rivers Order, and establish Zen Mountain Monastery as an important training center for Zen and related practices.
Of note to this blog, Loori's introduction to Eastern thought came from working with Minor White, from whom he learned meditation as well as photography, and whose take on art (such as that expressed in his creative audience method) he adopted as his own. Loori's photography has been widely exhibited, and he is the author of The Zen of Creativity, which would be of interest to anyone whose religious life and artistic life intersect to any degree.
I trained at ZMM a few times - it is where I met Kazuaki Tanahashi - and at one point several workshop attendees were relaxing outside with Daido in the drear upstate New York weather. Somehow it came up that I spoke Italian, and was asked to say something. "Fa schivo," I said about the drizzle-filled fog. Daido saw an opportunity to pounce. "No, fa magnifico," he countered, as his hand, never releasing its cigarette, went palm up and across as if he were introducing a movie star. "Fa perfetto." Crushed in dharma combat, in Italian, by a smoking Roshi. I was always fond of him thereafter.