Mitta Kutsu Nakagawa Soen Roshi
Soen Nakagawa (中川 宋淵; March 19, 1907—March 11, 1984) was a Rinzai Zen roshi and poet, the predecessor to two influential Zen teachers in the West, Maurine Stuart roshi and Eido Tai Shimano, the now retired abbot of the Zen Studies Society (now run by Shimano’s successor, Roko Sherry Chayat). Nakagawa was also an important figure in the formative years of several other American Zen teachers, including the late Robert Aitken roshi of the Honolulu Diamond Sangha and the independent Zen teacher, Philip Kapleau.
Nakagawa was a Dharma successor of Keigaku Katsube and served as head abbot of Ryutaku-ji. In his retirement he resided on the temple grounds where people would report hearing classical music drifting from his little hut during all hours of the day and night. Classical music was an art form which Soen loved dearly. Nakagawa’s Zen lineage continues today through Eido Shimano’s Dharma successors, including Roko Sherry Chayat and Genjo Marinello, Osho, and others like Jun Po Denis Kelly, founder of Mondo Zen. His is one of the only Western Rinzai Zen lineages that continues to be passed down over generations, on into modern-day.