Maurine Stuart

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Maurine Stuart
Religion Zen Buddhism
School Rinzai
Other names Ma Roshi
Mother Roshi
Maurine Freedgood
Born (1922-03-03)March 3, 1922
Saskatchewan, Canada
Died February 6, 1990(1990-02-06) (aged 67)
Senior posting
Title Roshi
Religious career
Teacher Soen Nakagawa
Eido Tai Shimano
Haku'un Yasutani

Maurine Stuart (March 3, 1922—February 26, 1990), a.k.a. Ma Roshi or Mother Roshi, was a Rinzai Zen roshi who was granted her teaching title during an informal ceremony in 1982 held by her teacher Soen Nakagawa. She was one of the first female Zen masters to teach in the United States, and in 1979 became president and spiritual director of the Cambridge Buddhist Association. Nakagawa, who had given Dharma transmission previously to five individuals (all male), granted Stuart the title in defiance of convention. While she had accepted the roshi title, she never declared to be a Dharma heir or lineage holder. The title was conferred upon her independent of her previous Zen practice and 1977 ordination as a Zen priest by Eido Tai Shimano.[1]


Maurine Stuart was born in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1922. In 1949 she moved to Paris, France to study music under Nadia Boulanger, and while there she developed her interest in Zen Buddhism. In 1966 she joined the Zen Studies Society in New York, now led by Eido Tai Shimano. She also practiced under Haku'un Yasutani for some time during this period. In 1970 she had moved to Newton, Massachusetts and opened the Chestnut Hill Zendo—joining the Cambridge Buddhist Association not long after. She was ordained as a priest by Shimano in 1977. She is featured in "Zen in America: Five Teachers and the Search for American Buddhism" by Helen Tworkov. Tworkov reports that Stuart left the Shimano lineage in 1977 because of his mistreatment of women. In 1979 she became president and spiritual director of the Cambridge Buddhist Association. She died of liver cancer in 1990 and left behind no successors.[2][3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Luminous Passage, 11
  2. ^ Journeys East, 298
  3. ^ Zen Master Who?, 109-110


Further reading[edit]