asian spirits

Essay by jimjohnjoejakeCollege, UndergraduateB, November 2014

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Anthony Milone

Dr. David Carpenter


Asian Spiritualities

Research Paper

Robert Aitken

Robert Aiken was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1917, and was raised in Hawaii from the age of two. Robert Aitken, an influential American Zen master and writer who emphasized a path to enlightenment through social action, died of pneumonia in a Honolulu hospital. He was 93. He went to the University of Hawaii with a BA degree in English Literature and a MA degree in Japanese studies. Aitken was one of the first Americans to be fully sanctioned as a master of Zen Buddhism and trained several generations of Zen Buddhist teachers.

Aitken was a great teacher and taught many students. At his Zen training centers you could spend about eight months of the year in serious zen training, including eight seven day retreats annually. " if you wanted to drop everything and have a run at enlightenment, it was the place for you.".

Aitken has given full transmission as independent masters to Nelson Foster, Honolulu Diamond Sangha and Ring of Bone Zendo in Nevada City, California; John Tarrant , Pacific Zen Institute in Santa Rosa, California; Patrick Hawk, Zen Desert Sangha in Tucson, Arizona, and Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Joseph Bobrow , Harbor Sangha in San Francisco, California; Jack Duffy , Three Treasures Sangha in Seattle, Washington; Augusto Alcalde, Vimalakirti Sangha, in Cordoba, Argentina and Rolf Drosten, Wolken-und-Mond-Sangha (Clouds and Moon Sangha) , in Leverkusen, Germany. He authorized Pia Gyger, One Ground Zendo in Luzern, Switzerland, as an affiliate teacher of the Diamond Sangha. He joined with John Tarrant in giving transmission as independent masters to Subhana Barzaghi in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; and to Ross Bolleter in Perth, Western Australia.

He established the Honolulu center as a lay community...