DAIBUTSUJI Teachers & Lineage

Rev. Kathryn Shukke Hilbert Abbot

Rev. Harvey Daiho Hilbert-roshi Abbot emeritus

Rev. Michael Gozen LaTorra   Abbot emeritus




Rev. Kathryn Shukke Hilbert

Rev. Kathryn Shukke (SHOO-kay) Hilbert began meditating as a teenager, implemented insight meditation as a recovery tool for traumatized children and adults in her psychotherapy practice for decades, and practiced independently for many years before finding a Zen Teacher and finally "getting down to business."  Her Teacher is Rev. Bobby Kankin Byrd of Both Sides No Sides Zendo in El Paso, TX.  While studying with Rev. Kankin, her spiritual path led her into service as a Temple priest.

Rev. Shukke is dedicated to maintaining the training and practice traditions that reflect DAIBUTSUJI'S lineage, while developing an autonomous Sangha that supports the practice of its membership and sustains itself in a rather non-traditional way.  Zen study and/or Ordination training is available with Rev. Shukke after a series of private consultations wherein both parties discuss and clarify the potential students interests and goals, while developing an individualized study plan that meets those needs.

Rev. Shukke performs official Buddhist wedding, commitment and funeral services around the area, and makes hospital visits to patients who request a Priest. She also works closely with Mesilla Valley Hospice to provide consultation to persons engaging in their final life journey.   jiisha2abbot@gmail.com

Rev. Dr. Harvey Daiho Hilbert-roshi

Daiho-roshi (DIE-ho) received Shukke Tokudo in the year 2000 and received Dharma Transmission in 2005. He began studying Zen in 1966 after being shot in the head in combat in Vietnam. He is the founding abbot of The Order of Clear Mind Zen headquartered in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  He retired from this post in 2014. Roshi is an accomplished painter, teacher, and psychotherapist.  His art work can be seen at http://daihozenart.blogspot.com.  Daiho's Personal Website

Rev. Michael Gozen LaTorra

Michael Gozen LaTorra-roshi (GO-zen)  is  a retired College Assistant Professor in the English Department of New Mexico State University, and the author of A Warrior Blends with Life: A Modern Tao (North Atlantic Books, 1993). Back in the last millennium, Gozen began studying Zen with Hogaku-roshi (Ken McGuire) and took the Buddhist precepts under him in 1990. Gozen was ordained by Hogaku-roshi's disciple Harvey Daiho Hilbert-roshi in 2004. Gozen served as Abbot of the Zen Center of Las Cruces / Daibutsuji Zen Temple from 2007 to 2014. He received the title of Roshi from Rev. Daiho Hilbert prior to his formal retirement and move to Florida in 2016. 

Ken Hogaku Shozen McGuire-roshi (d. 2012)

Ken Hogaku Shozen McGuire-roshi (Ho-GAH-Koo SHOW-zen) was the founding abbot of Daibutsuji Zen Temple in Las Cruces (1969) and Cloudcroft (1998), New Mexico.  Ken-roshi is Dharma Heir to Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi, the first Zen Master from Japan to establish a Zen Temple in the United States.  Ken-roshi studied with Matsuoka-roshi in Long Beach, California from 1963 until he moved to New Mexico in 1968.  He traveled to Japan on two occasions with Matsuoka-roshi and was presented to the abbot of Sojiji.  Ken-roshi took Shukke Tokudo in 1968 and received Inka Shomei in 1977 from Matsuoka-roshi.  Recently, Rev. McGuire-roshi was honored with the Transmission of Light Ceremony in the Vietnamese Rinzai Zen tradition by the Most Venerable Thich An Giao.  Ken-roshi was elevated to the rank of Great Master which is equivalent to Bishop. He was retired from his long career with Lockheed-Martin and NASA as an aerospace engineer. An accomplished carpenter, he built Zen furnishings for home and Temple until his death in June of 2012.

Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi (1912-1997)

Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-roshi was a priest in a family of priests going back six centuries. He came to the United States in 1939 as an emissary of Sojiji Training Monastery first to Los Angeles, then to San Francisco. Matsuoka soon left San Francisco to go to New York where he worked with D T Suzuki at Columbia University. He then went to Chicago and established the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago in 1949.

Matsuoka taught everywhere he could: high schools, karate dojos, living rooms. He was relentless in his effort to bring the living Dharma to the United States. He wrote letters to newspapers, was a strong supporter of non-violence and de-segregation, and wrote letters in support of Rev. Martin Luther King’s civil disobedience.

He had three disciples who went on to establish their own lineages: Kongo Langois in Chicago, Il. Taiun Elliston in Atlanta, Ga. and Hogaku McGuire in Long Beach, California. Kongo is considered the first American to be ordained as a Zen priest in 1967. Sometime after Matsuoka returned to California to establish his Zen Temple in Long Beach, he broke with Soto Shu in Japan.

There are many rumors floating around the Internet and, unfortunately in print, regarding Matsuoka’s later years . After reviewing extant materials and personal interviews of those who actually knew and studied with Matsuoka, I believe much of the talk surrounding this true pioneer is in an effort to diminish his mission to create a truly American form of Zen in service to supporting the institutionalized version being transmitted from Japan.

Matsuoka taught Zazen. He taught basic forms. He chanted only the most essential sutras. He streamlined the training and progression of students so that they would have an opportunity to practice in roles and take on responsibilities they would not have been entitled to in an institutionalized context. His was a homegrown Zen, a practical Zen. He used Japanese terms sparingly and tried to make his Zen accessible to Americans.

Those who actually take the time to make a study of Matsuoka’s written record in two collections of his writings (“The Kyosaku” and “Moku-rai”) will soon discover the truth about this pioneer. He was a genuine Master and a fine teacher who held his students in higher esteem than they, themselves apparently did.

Dōgen Zenji (1200–1253)

-copyright on this photo is expired

-copyright on this photo is expired

Master Dōgen is our sect’s founder. While he lived in Japan in the 13th century, he left us an enormous treasury of teaching. From his Shobogenzo to his Extensive Record and from his collection of Three Hundred Koans to his Standards for Monastic Practice, and on to his poetry and his Instructions to the Zen Cook, Dōgen Zenji’s offerings were his life made manifest. We owe contemporary Zen practice to Master Dōgen. Dogen Zenji , as a young monk in the Tendai tradition questioned his teachers. When he could not get satisfactory answers he did what all true masters do, he left home. Travelling to China he studied for a number of years and became intimate with what was called Serene Reflection Meditation, or Silent Illumination. Returning to Japan after receiving transmission from his Master, Dōgen Zenji began offering “True Buddhism” to his countrymen. He went on to found what has come to be known as Eiheiji, the chief Zen Training Temple of the Soto Zen sect even to this present day. Our founder, Matsuoka-roshi was the lamp holder who brought Dōgen’s teaching from Japan to the United States and from him through our Teachers to us.