About Jakusho Kwong

Early life

Jakusho Kwong was born as William Kwong in Santa Rosa, California on November 14, 1935. In the 1950s, while studying to be an art teacher at San Jose State University, Kwong was in a car accident that nearly killed him. He took a temporary job as a postman to improve the strength in his legs, which had been badly damaged in the accident. He soon married and took a job as a sign painter, leaving school early due to clashes with his art instructor. Kwong and his wife Laura were looking for an alternative lifestyle at this time, when Bill happened upon an article in a Japanese newspaper with a feature story on Shunryu Suzuki.

Zen Practice

In 1960, he began studying Soto Zen under Shunryu Suzuki in San Francisco and became one of his first students. In 1971 Suzuki began preparations to give Dharma transmission to Kwong, having given transmission to Richard Baker that previous year, but Suzuki died soon after without carrying it out.After preparatory study with Kobun Chino, Kwong later completed Dharma transmission with Hoitsu Suzuki, Shunryu Suzuki's son and first dharma heir, in keeping with Suzuki-roshi's intention. In 1973, with Laura (now Shin Ko Kwong) and four sons, Kwong moved to an old farm in Sonoma County, California with the intention of establishing a meditation center there. The land today encompasses at least eighty-two acres of land, and is known as Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

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Video of Jakusho Kwong

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