Sydney Musai Walter Roshi's Passing


We are sad to announce the passing of Sydney Musai Walter Roshi on Friday, January 18, 2019. A Zen teacher in our White Plum lineage, psychotherapist, author, lover of nature and hiker, Musai Roshi studied with many great spiritual teachers including Maezumi Roshi, Suzuki Roshi, Trungpa Rinpoche, Jitsudo Roshi and Genpo Roshi.

In his book, Off the Path, The Zen of Mountains and Deserts, he says, ''I began my Zen practice in the midst of a life crisis, under the guidance of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. When I asked that Zen Master what I should do about my life dilemmas, he responded, 'Do zazen. Life without zazen is like winding your clock without setting it. It runs perfectly well, but it doesn't tell time.' I have been following that advice for over four decades. I have turned to wild places for reassurance and adventure since I was a child. When I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1980 I found, in the Four Corners states, vast areas of mountain and desert wilderness where I could wander year-round, shedding the concerns of life in society and opening to the earth. These two fundamental streams of my life merge in my hikes and solo wilderness retreats. I hope in these photos and journals I can share some of the wonder and release I have found in this Buddhist wilderness practice.''

I practiced with Musai Roshi in the early 70’s at Zen Center of Los Angeles and I will always remember his open and kind heart. Our condolences to his family and his sangha.

~ Robert Joshin Althouse Roshi