The journey of Buddhism over centuries, from India to China and then to Japan, is the stuff of mythology. But now, in our own time, we have witnessed and documented its historic crossing of the Pacific and its subsequent evolution in the Americas and Europe.
In 1982, writer Peter Muryo Matthiessen, the first dharma successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman, traveled with Glassman to pay respects to the teachers in their lineage, some of the great living Zen masters of twentieth-century Japan. What took place was an important meeting of minds representing the past, present, and future of Zen practice, an intimate connection between ancestors and descendants marking a critical point in the Zen journey from the East to the West. This historic event was captured in the moment by the selective lens of Peter Cunningham. Matthiessen’s exquisite poetic accounts of this pilgrimage, which formed a part of his book Nine-Headed Dragon River, accompany the photos.