Kannin Dorothy Deming Smith at her home in Seattle, 2008.
Kannin Dorothy Deming Smith was one of the pioneering Zen practitioners in Seattle and became a teacher herself when she opened her Cold Mountain Hermitage there.
Dorothy began zazen practice under the guidance of University of Washington art history professor Dr. Glenn Webb in 1974, at the age of 55. A Zen practitioner in the Rinzai tradition, Webb was then perhaps the only Westerner teaching zazen in Seattle.
Dorothy took her priest’s vows in 1995 and soon after created the Cold Mountain Buddhist Hermitage at her tiny home in Seattle. She taught and inspired students there for more than a dozen years. The name of the hermitage refers to the Cold Mountain lineage of Rinzai Zen as does Dorothy’s dharma name, Kannin (“Cold Jurisprudence”). “Cold” is understood in the sense of “serene, calm”.
When interviewed by the Northwest Dharma News in 2008, Dorothy had this advice for young Buddhists:
“Go for it. No apologies. Nothing. Your life is your showpiece… You have nothing to do with any of it. I have nothing to do with any of it. It happens out there. It happens on the rim. And all we can do is just… stay calm. Stay calm. Stay collected.”
Kannin Dorothy Deming Smith made her transition on October 9, 2010.
Dharma friends and students who were not able to say good bye can find Dorothy's memorial page at the Beck’s Funeral Home website:
Contributor: Sibyl Lundy.
Photo: Caterina De Re.