In Memoriam: John Nomura

John Nomura, our beloved founder, teacher, friend, and activist, passed away on November 11th, 2023. He was 81 years old.

We created this webpage to share memories and teachings of our dear friend.

John was born in 1942, during WWII, in a Japanese-American internment camp in Santa Anita, California. He told our sangha about his childhood experiences and about the resiliency of the Japanese-American community in a pair of talks given to us in 2019.  Please find below the recordings of these talks.

John practiced for many years at Zenshuji temple in Los Angeles and in Seattle at One Pine Hall.  Along with priest Sandy Taylor, John founded Seattle Soto Zen in 2005, and his gentle, confident presence and winning smile were greatly appreciated and will be sorely missed. John’s primary practice at Seattle Soto Zen was the teaching Akiyama Roshi imparted to him of simply correcting people’s posture while meditating. He was dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging in our community, and was dedicated to ensuring that everybody who came to sit with SSZ felt seen, heard, and valued. We will carry John’s message of kindness, inclusivity, and advocacy forward as as our sangha embodies his legacy.

Hero of the Legendary Trout
Turning the Destiny of a Nation

(translation of the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo, by John Nomura)

Homage to Buddha.
Buddha is here and now,
Buddha is this karmic moment,
In this karmic moment of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
Attaining permanence, enjoyment, purity, and self.
In the morning awareness brings forth Kanzeon.
In the evening awareness brings forth Kanzeon.
Thought after thought arises sincerely from Buddha-mind.
Thought after thought is not separate from Buddha-mind.

One comment

  1. Carl Kakuzen Mountain

    John Nomura and Sandra Taylor of Seattle Soto Zen were instrumental for my beginnings of Soto Zen practice. With their gentle guidance and encouragement, I was able to continue my practice and path for many years and eventually receive ordination as a novice Soto Zen priest. They both will always be in my heart and have my gratitude. _/\_

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