Dear Soji Sangha and Friends,
Yesterday, after a prolonged period of complicated health issues, our beloved teacher and Soji founder Roshi Jules Shuzen Harris passed away at home in Lansdowne. I have been incredibly moved by Roshi’s conviction to keep showing up, week after week, to sit with us, chant with us, see students in interviews, and offer the teachings of the Dharma in both his words and his example. It was not easy in these recent months, but he would not be deterred!
For years, we have been united by a shared love for our teacher and a connection forged by the ways that he has been so influential to so many of us. I have listened to many of you speak in council circle often about a way that Shuzen Roshi guided you, challenged you, offered you support or compassion, saw something in you that you may not have seen in yourself, and encouraged you to go deeper in your Zen practice and commitment.
I can also say with absolute clarity that all of you have meant so much to Shuzen Roshi, that he has profoundly appreciated your support for Soji, your dedication to practice, and your willingness to come back again and again to a place of grateful acceptance alongside consistent effort. Roshi said many times, “You all are my practice.” and indeed we have been.
I know all of you will offer great support to each other at a time of loss and sadness with the remarkable warmth, openness, and sincerity that has so characterized our community. I also know that each of you will be a part of holding Shuzen Roshi’s wishes for all of us firmly in mind so that the vibrant place of authentic practice that he created for all of us will continue to flourish.
Holding all of you in the light of care at this time,
Sensei John Ango Gruber
Please access the recent articles from Tricycle and Lion’s Roar for additional details on Shuzen Roshi’s life and teaching.