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Cypress Trees in the Garden

Published Date: September 21, 2015

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Royal 8vo, 500 pages


Richard Bryan McDaniel’s Cypress Trees in the Garden: The Second Generation of Zen Teaching in America continues the history of North American Zen which he began in The Third Step East: Zen Masters of America (Sumeru Press, 2015). The earlier book described the pioneers who established Zen practice in North America; this new book focuses on the heirs and successors of those teachers and the challenges they faced.


Between March 2013 and September 2014, McDaniel traveled from San Francisco to Portland, Maine, from Montreal to Albuquerque, interviewing 75 prominent Zen teachers and their senior students. The result is a book which describes the way in which—like the Chinese and Japanese before them—North Americans have taken an Indian tradition which pre-dates Christianity and reformed it into something uniquely their own. Chapters on teachers in the Rinzai, Soto, and Sanbo Zen traditions provide a strikingly honest portrait of contemporary Zen teaching, practice, and social engagement in the United States and Canada.


This survey of current American Zen teachers gives an honest, intimate, look into the inspiring efforts and growing pains of the evolution of Zen in the West. It does this by letting the major players speak in their own voice about how they came to Zen practice, their offerings, their troubles and their hopes for the future of American Zen. I couldn’t put it down.
Genjo Marinello, Abbot of Chobo-Ji


In Cypresss Trees, Rick McDaniel masterfully gets out of the way and lets his subjects tell their stories. In so doing, we get a whole sense of this great American Zen experiment from satori to debauchery and back (or vice versa), along with much in the middle. If the Zen root does entangle with the American spirit, then Zen students for generations will cherish this book for the honest portrayals of its founders and failures expressed and exposed here.
Dosho Port Roshi, Great Tides Zen


…this offering is at once a history of Zen and a lovely homecoming. Additionally, McDaniel weaves in fundamental teachings, such as differences between Soto and Rinzai Zen within the context of his narrative. This book should be of interest to the serious Zen student, the casual reader as well as students of the history of religion.
Seiso Paul Cooper Sensei, Two Rivers Zen



Prologue – Zen Mountain Monastery

1. Three Abbots [San Francisco Zen Center]
— a. Blanche Hartman
— b. Steve Stucky
— c. Mel Weitsman

2. Three Oshos [Joshu Sasaki lineage]
— a. Myokyo McLean
— b. Seiju Mammoser
— c. Yoshin Radin

3. Shinge Sherry Chayat [Eido Shimano lineage]

4. Genjo Marinello

5. Eshu Martin

6. Shodo Harada and Enso House

7. Three Sanbo Zen Teachers
— a. Elaine MacInnes
— b. Patrick Gallagher
— c. Henry Shukman

8. John Tarrant [Aitken-Tarrant lineage]

9. Joan Sutherland

10. James Ford

11. Three Boundless Way Teachers
— a. Melissa Blacker
— b. David Rynick
— c. Josh Bartok

12. Bernard Tetsugen Glassman [Maezumi lineage]

13. John Daido Loori

14. Jan Chozen Bays

15. Gerry Shishin Wick

16. Two Catholic Priests
— a. Robert Kennedy
— b. Kevin Hunt

17. Bodhin Kjolhede [Kapleau lineage]

18. Sunyana Graef

19. Taigen Henderson

20. Mitra Bishop

21. Three at the Springwater Center for Meditative Inquiry
— a. Toni Packer
— b. Wayne Coger
— c. Sandra González

22. Dosho Port [Katagiri lineage]

23. Two Teachers in the Kwan Um School of Zen [Korean Zen]
— a. Bobby Rhodes
— b. Richard Shrobe

24. Three at Blue Cliff [Vietnamese Zen]
— a. Brother Phap Vu
— b. Brother Phap Man
— c. Sister Dang Nghiem

Epilogue – Two Zendos in Maine
— a. Great Tides Zen
— b. Morgan Bay Zendo

Rick McDanielRick McDaniel taught at the University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University before working in International Development and Fair Trade with the YMCA. He is the creator of the YMCA Peace Medallion. Dr. McDaniel has described himself as a Roman Catholic by birth and heritage and a Zen practitioner by nature and temperament. His previous books are Zen Masters of China: The First Step East and Zen Masters of Japan: The Second Step East.

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