Joan Sutherland, Roshi

Joan Sutherland, Roshi

Open Source Founding Teacher

Joan Sutherland, RoshiJoan Sutherland, Roshi is a teacher in the Zen koan tradition and the first woman teacher in her lineage in the Americas. She is re-imagining that tradition with allegiance to the root spirit of the koans and to their profound potential for vivifying, subverting, and sanctifying our lives. In her unique vision, awakening embraces endarkenment as well as enlightenment. This vision is the subject of a short film, The Radiance of the Dark. Her book Acequias & Gates : Miscellaneous Koans and Miscellaneous Writings on Koans was published in 2014 and is available here.

Joan Sutherland taught in Santa Fe, NM through Awakened Life, the community that gathered around her teachings there. She is also the founding teacher of The Open Source, a network of communities that includes Springs Mountain Sangha in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Wet Mountain Sangha in Pueblo, Colorado, Desert Rain Zen Group in Tucson, Arizona, and The Crimson Gate in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is one of the founders of the Pacific Zen School, an innovative contemporary koan school that also includes Pacific Zen Institute.

In 2014 she retired from working directly with students and now focuses on Cloud Dragon : The Joan Sutherland Dharma Works, established to organize and disseminate her teachings. She currently lives on the coast of northern California.

Her writing has appeared regularly in Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma magazines, and is archived here. She is a translator from classical Chinese, collaborating with John Tarrant on a new translation of the Blue Cliff Record. She is currently dreaming a book whose working title is also The Radiance of the Dark


Also available:

Vimalakirti & the Awakened Heart : A Commentary on The Sutra that Vimalakirti Speaks by Zen teacher Joan Sutherland, Roshi is a timeless meditation on developing a peaceful and generous heart in a world of sorrows, and on how the awakening of each of us is an inextricable part of the awakening of the world. It’s the first volume in a collection called Pilgrim’s Bundle, handbooks on traditional philosophy, practices, and poetry in a contemporary voice.

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