Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, with Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. He lives and teaches at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, is the head teacher of the Buddhadharma Sangha of San Quentin State Prison, and is mentor and preceptor to the Montaña de Silencio Sangha in Medellín, Colombia.
Jiryu has trained in Zen temples in the U.S. and Japan since 1996. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley (2014), where he worked under the mentorship of the Group in Buddhist Studies on Buddhist texts in classical Chinese and modern Japanese. His thesis research focused on Nishiari Bokusan andthe development of Soto Zen in Japan during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). He is the author of the book Two Shores of Zen about his experiences in 2002-2004 as an American-trained monk practicing in Japanese Zen monasteries. Other writing of his has appeared in Buddhadharma, Lions’ Roar, and elsewhere. Along with his brother, Rev. Hondo Dave Rutschman, he maintains the blog No Zen in the West.
Jiryu has lived continuously at Zen temples since the age of twenty. He was ordained a priest in 2002 by Seido Lee deBarros, began teaching as shuso under Myogen Steve Stucky in 2008, and in 2014 received full authorization to teach, completing Dharma Transmission with Sojun Mel Weitsman. Along with these core teachers, he is also indebted to many other teachers associated with the San Francisco Zen Center, including Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Tenshin Reb Anderson. As recounted in Two Shores of Zen, in 2002-2004 he had the opportunity to train in Zen temples in Japan, and spent time at Bukkokuji (Obama, Japan) and Hokyoji (Echizen-Ono, Japan). He is also grateful for the opportunity to have seen and experienced diverse styles of practice in his travels and training as a visitor to practice centers like Shasta Abbey and Mt. Baldy Zen Center under the late Joshu Sasaki Roshi, and to train briefly with teachers like Toni Packer of the Springwater Center and Shohaku Okumura Roshi at Sanshinji, among others.
Jiryu was born in Argentina and raised primarily in Albuquerque and Chicago. He attended the tiny and selective Deep Springs College as an undergraduate in 1994-1995, and after a decade-plus interlude completed his BA in 2010 at the California Institute of Integral Studies before continuing on for his MA at UC Berkeley.
Jiryu is married with two children.