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Zuigan was a member of a group of fourteen who went to the US with Tetsuo Sōkatsu in 1906, attempting strawberry farming in Hayward, California, returning to Japan in 1910. He received his inka from Sokatsu in 1916 and spent fifteen years as a missionary in Seoul.
Author Huston Smith was his student for fifteen years, and was one of four students ordained by Sokatsu Shaku. Another of Gotō Zuigan's students was Walter Nowick, who went to Japan in 1950 to study Zen with Zuigan Gotō at Daitoku-ji. Nowick stayed in Japan some sixteen years until the death of Zuigan Gotō in 1965.
The Dutch author Janwillem van de Wetering lived a year and a half in Daitoku-Ji with Nowick under Zuigan's successor Oda Sessō, and described this in The Empty Mirror. Sōkō Morinaga, Nowick's Dharma brother, wrote in Novice to Master about traditional practices at the time Nowick first went to Japan.
Dharma heirs 
See also 
- Stirling 2006, pp. 49-50
- Fileds 1992, p. 176.
- Stirling 2006, pg. 21
- Kraft, 20
- Smith, viii
- Levine, 316
- Miura, xvi
- Fields, Rick (1992), How the Swans Came to the Lake. A Narrative History of Buddhism in America, Boston & London: Shambhala
- Kraft, Kenneth (1988). Zen, Tradition and Transition: A Sourcebook by Contemporary Zen Masters and Scholars. Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3162-X.
- Levine, Gregory P.A. (2005). Daitokuji: The Visual Cultures of a Zen Monastery. University of Washington Press. p. 316. ISBN 0-295-98540-2.
- Miura, Isshu; Ruth Fuller Sasaki (1993). The Zen Koan: Its History and Use in Rinzai Zen. HBJ. ISBN 0-15-699981-1.
- Smith, Houston; Philip Novak (2004). Buddhism: A Concise Introduction. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-073067-6.
- Stirling, Isabel. "Zen Pioneer: The Life & Works of Ruth Fuller Sasaki" (2006) Shoemaker & Hoard. ISBN 978-1-59376-110-3
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