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Robert Aitken dies at 93; American Zen master [View All]

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 09:21 AM
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Robert Aitken dies at 93; American Zen master
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By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
August 10, 2010

Robert Aitken, an influential American Zen master and writer who emphasized a path to enlightenment through social action, died of pneumonia Thursday in a Honolulu hospital. He was 93.

His death was confirmed by Roland Sugimoto, administrator of Honolulu Diamond Sangha, a Zen Buddhist network with more than 20 affiliated groups around the world that Aitken founded more than 50 years ago with his late wife, Anne Hopkins Aitken.

Aitken was one of the first Americans to be fully sanctioned as a master of Zen Buddhism and trained several generations of Zen Buddhist teachers. He established the Honolulu center as a lay community that was particularly notable for an egalitarian approach that was welcoming to women.

"He made Zen Buddhism workable for Westerners," said Michael Kieran, who studied under Aitken and now oversees Diamond Sangha's main temple as master teacher. "He removed a lot of the patriarchal language from the tradition, which had been mainly transmitted to us through the monastic tradition."

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