Steve Hagen

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Steve Hagen
Steve Hagen.png
Religion Zen Buddhism
School Sōtō
Lineage Dainin Katagiri
Nationality American
Born 1945 (age 73–74)
Duluth, Minnesota, United States
Spouse Jean Forester (dec.)
Senior posting
Based in Dharma Field Zen Center
Title Rōshi
Successor (Bev Forsman)
Religious career
Teacher Dainin Katagiri

Stephen Tokan "Steve" Hagen, Rōshi, (born 1945) is the founder and head teacher of the Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Dharma heir of Dainin Katagiri-roshi.[1] Additionally, he is the author of several books on Buddhism. Among them as of 2003, Buddhism Plain & Simple was one of the top five bestselling Buddhism books in the United States.[2] In 2012, Hagen updated and revised How the World Can Be the Way It Is and published it as Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense—an Inquiry into Science, Philosophy, and Perception.[3]

Early life

Hagen grew up in Duluth, Minnesota[4] where he was first drawn to Buddhism when he was seven or eight years old.[5] He later told Linda Hanson of the Duluth News Tribune, "I wanted to know what’s going on and to not be fooled. I wanted to know what was real and genuine and true."


His childhood desire to know truth eventually led him to Zen Buddhism in 1967.[4] In 1975 Hagen became a student of Zen master Dainin Katagiri and he was ordained a Zen priest in 1979.[2] Katagiri Roshi gave Hagen Dharma transmission (endorsement to teach) in 1989.[6] Katagiri gave Hagen the name "Tokan" which means "breaking through barrier into peace and understanding."[7]

Dharma Field

Before opening Dharma Field, Hagen took frequent road trips to Menomonie and Eau Claire, Wisconsin to give workshops and to lead sesshins.[8] Hagen married Jean Forester, a piano teacher who died in 2010.[9] Forester sold her home to help purchase St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in the Fulton neighborhood in the Southwest community of Minneapolis, where Hagen founded Dharma Field in 1997.[9][10]

James Ishmael Ford wrote that Dharma Field under Hagen had " independent sensibility that parallels Charlotte Joko Beck's teaching".[1]

Dharma Field offers foundational Buddhist studies as well as advanced courses.[11] Among the latter, Hagen taught a yearlong course on Nagarjuna.[12]

Norm Randolph who is also a dharma heir of Katagiri is a teacher at Dharma Field. Lee Register who received dharma transmission from Hagen in 2011 is a former teacher.[6] Bev Forsman was ordained by Hagen in 2007 and received dharma transmission in 2010. Forsman became head teacher in June 2012[6] and served until May 2014.[13]

Dharma heirs

  • Bev Forsman
  • Lee Register



  • Hagen, Steve (1995). How the World Can Be the Way It Is. Quest Books. ISBN 0-8356-0719-4. 
  • Hagen, Steve (1998). Buddhism Plain and Simple. Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-0332-3. 
  • Hagen, Steve (2004). Buddhism Is Not What You Think. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-073057-9. 
  • Hagen, Steve (2007). Meditation Now Or Never. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-114329-4. 
  • Hagen, Steve (2012). Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense: An Inquiry into Science, Philosophy, and Perception. Sentient Publications. ISBN 1591811805. 

Other books

  • Katagiri, Dainin (2000). Hagen, Steve, ed. You Have to Say Something. Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-462-3. 
  • Senzaki, Nyogen, Genro, and Nyogen (2000). The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Koans. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3248-X.  (Introduction by Steve Hagen)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?. Wisdom Publications. p. 135. ISBN 0-86171-509-8. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brussat, Frederic; Brussat, Mary Ann. "Book Review: Buddhism Is Not What You Think". Spirituality and Practice. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  3. "Dharma Field Online Bookstore". Dharma Field Zen Center. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Hanson, Linda (July 19, 2008). "Duluth native teaches Buddhism's basics". Duluth News Tribune via The Buddhist Channel. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  5. "Steve Hagen Interview". Sweeping Zen – The Zen Buddhism Database. September 25, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Dharma Field Teachers". Dharma Field Zen Center. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  7. Hagen, Steve. "Contradiction" (PDF). Dharma Field Zen Center. p. 18. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  8. Hagen, Steve (2007). Meditation: Now or Never. HarperCollins. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-06-114329-8. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Jean Forester". Dharma Field Zen Center. Retrieved January 31, 2012. 
  10. Millett, Larry (2009). AIA Guide to the Minneapolis Lake District. Minnesota Historical Society Press. p. 96. ISBN 0-87351-645-1. 
  11. "Courses". Dharma Field Zen Center. Retrieved February 18, 2010. 
  12. Hagen, Steve (2007). Meditation: Now or Never. HarperCollins. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-06-114329-8. 
  13. Hagen, Steve; Forsman, Bev. "Center news". Dharma Field Zen Center. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 

External links


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Living people

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Ajahn Amaro Bhikkhu Analayo Reb Anderson James H. Austin Alan Ball (screenwriter)
Martine Batchelor Stephen Batchelor (author) Ezra Bayda Jan Chozen Bays Alexander Berzin
Bhikkhu Sujato Alfred Bloom (Buddhist) Bhikkhu Bodhi William Bodiford Sujin Boriharnwanaket
Tara Brach Shoryu Bradley Ajahn Brahm Arthur Braverman David Brazier
David Chadwick (writer) Pema Chodron Thubten Chodron Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche 14th Dalai Lama
Taisen Deshimaru K. L. Dhammajoti Phra Dhammavisuddhikavi Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche Zoketsu Norman Fischer
Charles Tenshin Fletcher James Ishmael Ford Francesca Freemantle Gil Fronsdal Stephen Fulder
Gary Gach Rupert Gethin Tetsugen Bernard Glassman Natalie Goldberg Joseph Goldstein
Richard Gombrich Oscar R. Gómez Henepola Gunaratana Ruben Habito Steve Hagen
Joan Halifax Shodo Harada Richard Hayes (professor) Steven Heine Dennis Hirota
Hsing Yun Cheri Huber Daisaku Ikeda Jeffrey Hopkins Thupten Jinpa
Y Karunadasa Robert Kennedy (Jesuit) Khandro Rinpoche Khantipalo Second Beru Khyentse
Anne C. Klein Jack Kornfield Erik Pema Kunsang Jakusho Kwong Geri Larkin
David Loy Dan Lusthaus Vicki Mackenzie Robert Magliola
Master Lian Tzi Dennis Merzel Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Phillip Moffitt Glenn H. Mullin
Rob Nairn Namkhai Norbu Katukurunde Nyanananda Thera Gedhun Choekyi Nyima Shōhaku Okumura
Erdne Ombadykow Tenzin Palmo Ajahn Pasanno Piya Tan Red Pine (author)
Prayudh Payutto John Myrdhin Reynolds Ringu Tulku Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche
Larry Rosenberg Hiro Sachiya Sharon Salzberg Padma Samten Shozan Jack Haubner
Ajahn Sucitto Ajahn Sumedho Thanissaro Bhikkhu Soma Thera Chokyi Sengay
Tashi Tsering (Chenrezig) Tashi Tsering (Jamyang) Tashi Tsering (tibetologist)
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