Sōkō Morinaga

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Sōkō Morinaga
School Rinzai
Born 1925
Died 1995
Senior posting
Title Zen Master
Predecessor Goto Zuigan
Successor Venerable Sokan; Venerable Soho

Sōkō Morinaga (盛永 宗興, Morinaga Sōkō, 1925–1995) was a Rinzai Zen roshi. He was head of Hanazono University and abbot of Daishu-in in Kyoto, one of the sub-temples of the Ryoan-ji temple complex.


He began his Zen training in his early twenties at Daishuin under Goto Zuigan, formerly abbot of Myoshin-ji and at that time abbot of Daitoku-ji, after finding himself adrift at the end of World War II. Later, he became head monk of Daitoku-ji. He was Dharma successor to Oda Sessō Rōshi, who was also a disciple of Gotō Zuigan Rōshi and who succeeded him as abbot of Daitoku-ji.

He had a number of Western students, most importantly Shaku Daijo and Ursula Jarand, both students of many years at Daishu-in in Kyoto. Shaku Daijo was there ordained as a Zen monk in 1979. Together with Ursula Jarand, Daijo built Daishu-in West in Humboldt County in Northern California, which was inaugurated by Sōkō Morinaga as a Zen Temple of the Myoshin-ji line.

The Roshi also made annual visits of one or two weeks each Summer to England to teach at the Buddhist Society's annual summer school. In 1984 he ordained Venerable Myokyo-ni, head of the Zen Centre closely affiliated to the London-based Buddhist Society. Myokyo-ni was Irmgard Schloegl, an Austrian woman who had trained at Daitoku-ji while he was head monk there and whose own direct teachers (Sessō Rōshi and Sojun Rōshi) were now no longer alive. He also inaugurated her London training place Shobo-an as a Zen Temple, in the Daitoku-ji line, where the teachings of Sōkō, Sessō and Sojun continue to be practiced.

Daishu-in West is the main training place in America where The Roshi's teaching and practice of traditional Rinzai Zen may be followed[citation needed].

His autobiography, Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity was first published in English in 2002.


In English:

  • Pointers to Insight: Life of a Zen Monk (1985)
  • The Ceasing of Notions: Zen Text from the Tun-Huang Caves (English translation of the German translation of Ursula Jarand, 1988)
  • Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity (2002)

In German:

  • Dialog über das Auslöschen der Anschauung - Dialogue about the Extinction of Contemplation Jarand, Ursula (translator), Frankfurt am Main: R. G. Fischer Verlag, 1987 - German translation of the Jueguanlun (Zekkanron) and Morinaga Soko Roshi's commentary on this text
  • Hui-neng, Das Sutra des Sechsten Patriarchen - Hui-neng: The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch Jarand, Ursula (translator), München: O. W. Barth Verlag, 1989 - German translation of the Platform sutra and Morinaga Soko Roshi's commentary on this text

See also

External links

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