The Record* of 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.

Some materials about the life and teaching of Issan Dorsey Roshi—photographs, notes, memories, sayings, jokes, happy memories and sad ones.







Mindfulness Is Not a Part-Time Job

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. This may be the only surviving transcript of any of Issan’s dharma talks. 


Remembering Issan Dorsey Roshi (March 7, 1933- September 6, 1990) on the 20th anniversary of his death

Some of my own memories shared at the Founder's Ceremony, Maitri Hospice, 2010.


"I have things to do!" April 23, 2010

Reflections on the koan "Little Jade." 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. 


Hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan—for the first time!

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


Issan’s Jesus Koan April 23, 2010

Bruce Boone’s memory of Issan.


Tommy D, the boy as pretty as the girl next-door, May 22, 2010

Candid, and totally staged, pictures of Issan. From the collection that Del Carlson gave to the Hartford Street Zen Center.


The Founding of Maitri Home and Hospice for People with AIDS, August 12, 2014

by Morgan Zo-Callahan and 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.


Issan Dorsey and Some Undisclosed Secrets of the AIDS Epidemic 

An interview I did with Marlin Marynick for his book, Undisclosed: Secrets of the AIDS Epidemic.


“Next Question” please (in revision)

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.