Our Tradition

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, a Japanese Zen priest belonging to the Soto lineage, came to San Francisco in 1959 at the age of fifty-four.


Already a respected Zen master in Japan, he was impressed by the seriousness and quality of “beginner’s mind” among Americans he met who were interested in Zen and decided to settle there.

As more and more people of non-Japanese background joined him in meditation, San Francisco Zen Centre came into being and he was its first abbot. Under his tutelage, Zen Centre grew into City Centre, Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre.

He was undoubtedly one of the most influential Zen teachers of his time. Some of his edited talks have been collected in the books Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Not Always So, and Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness: Zen Talks on the Sandokai. Suzuki-roshi died in 1971.

Black Mountain Zen Centre practices in the tradition and lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.