The Record* of Issan

I am beginning to pull together some materials for writing about the life and teaching of Issan Dorsey—photographs, notes, memories, sayings, jokes, happy memories and sad ones.

by Morgan Zo Callahan & Ken Ireland
This is the draft of a chapter from a forthcoming book: A Thousand Arms: A Guidebook for Buddhist Leaders, edited by Danny Fisher and Nathan Michon.

I found this dharma talk of Issan's in an old newsletter of the Gay Buddhist Fellowship. Though I can see an editor's hand,  Issan comes through in his simple eloquence and the depth of understanding.

Issan’s Jesus koan, April 23, 2010
Bruce Boone’s memory of Issan.

April 23, 2010, My friend, Fr. Joe Devlin, S.J., celebrates mass in the zendo at the Hartford Street Zen Center for Issan and other men at Maitri Hospice.

"I have things to do!" April 23, 2010
This story about Issan’s last week of life came back to me when another Buddhist friend received news of a grave diagnosis from his doctor.

Candid and not so candid pictures of Issan. Photographs that Del Carlson gave to the Hartford Street Zen Center.

The re-examination of an oppressive conversation about the prohibitory precepts and personal reflections about gay men's practice.

I always welcome any thoughts or suggestions. There will be a comment box at the end of each post. Please let me know if you remember some story about Issan.

*"Record" is a traditional title for the recorded sayings of Zen masters, their koans, life stories, lineage, and other interesting stuff. I am almost certain, but will have to check, that the Chinese masters and their disciples began using "record" this way during what is considered Zen's Golden Age, cc 700-900 C.E.

To read more reflections about the life of Issan, see some photographs, read his dharma talks, go to my Record of Issan page..