Daifukuji Zen Temple will host a free reading from the recently published Collected Letters of Alan Watts from 4-5 p.m. on March 20. His granddaughter, Myra Krien, will be attending to read, answer questions and sign books. Watts was an iconic figure who popularized Zen Buddhism in the 1960s. His first book on Zen was published in 1958, when the word was scarcely know in the Western world. His letters were just published in December, and they include correspondence with: Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, Gary Snyder, Timothy Leary, and Joseph Campbell.
Krien is also the great-granddaughter of Ruth Fuller Sasaki, who was the first foreigner to be the priest of a Rinzai Zen temple in Japan. Sasaki re-published the writings of her late husband, Sokei-an in 1947. Sokei-an’s first Buddhist book was published in 1931, and Alan Watts was one of his students. Copies of Zen Odyssey: The Birth of Zen in America, which tells the story of the married team who were Zen pioneers in America, will be available at the event, as well as Alan Watts’ Collected Letters. These books will also be available at Kona Bay Books and Kona Stories.
Daifukuji is at 79-7241 Mamalahoa Highway in Honalo, next to Teshima’s Restaurant. For more information call the temple at 322-3524 or visit daifukuji.org.