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Sun Mar 26, 2017, 06:16 PM


San Francisco Buddhism: Passing Memories of Convert Buddhists From Before the 1960s

March 22, 2017
by James Ford

It was 1969. I threw my lot in with the English Zen priest Houn Jiyu Kennett, who’d just arrived in the San Francisco Bay area and after a brief stay at the Zen Center in San Francisco opened a small “temple” in a flat on Potrero Hill.

That was when I first became aware of an earlier generation of convert Buddhists. There is almost nothing written about these people, and I think its a shame they seem to be passing from memory. Their credentials were often confusing, some coming out of brief or longer stays in East and South Asia, others out of encounters with visiting masters, and some, well, some seem to have just made the whole thing up.

Several stand out for me. Reverend Iru Price represented the Austrian-born Tibetan Lama Anagarika Govinda’s Arya Maitreya Mandala. Although I have to admit the main thing I recall about him was that he wore an inexpensive toupee, which seemed so incongruous a thing to do for a Buddhist priest who traditionally has a shaved head.

Another was Reverend Eugene Wagner. He’d been in the Navy or the Merchant Marines and had been ordained both as a Theravada and Mahayana monk at one time or another. He also said, and I believed him, he’d received some sort of authorization as a teacher from a visiting Rinzai priest Sogen Asahina. He was trying to put together a universal Buddhist order and was for a time a regular visitor to the San Francisco temple.


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Reply San Francisco Buddhism: Passing Memories of Convert Buddhists From Before the 1960s (Original post)
rug Mar 2017 OP
grantcart Mar 2017 #1

Response to rug (Original post)

Sun Mar 26, 2017, 07:13 PM

1. Interesting, especially about the sufi and Zen Master

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