Was Baker’s commitment to Zen practice much greater than a number of other of Suzuki’s close, very committed senior disciples? Or was it that Baker, in addition to his commitment to Zen, was more committed to institutional growth than the others, and importantly, was the only disciple who possessed the necessary skills and qualities to achieve the growth that Suzuki desired?

The recent and (relatively) well-documented passing of the SF Zen Center from Suzuki Roshi to his American student Dick Baker offers a fascinating and rare glimpse into the inner dynamics of a “Dharma Transmission” and the social role it plays in Mahayana institutions.