Street Zen – David Schneider
Drag queen, junkie, alcoholic, commune leader and, finally, Buddhist teacher: these words describe the unlikely persona of Issan Dorsey, one of the most beloved teachers to emerge from American Zen. The book follows Dorsey from his days as a female impersonator to the LSD experiences that set him on the spiritual path. In 1989, after 20 years of Zen practice, he became abbot of San Francisco’s Hartford Street Zen Center, where he founded a hospice for AIDS patients. The book draws on interviews David Schneider conducted with Dorsey before his death in 1990 and parallels their nearly 20-year friendship.
Founder of San Francisco’s Maitri Hospice for AIDS patients–where he died in 1990–Dorsey praticed Zen for 20 years, after leading an outrageous existence as a drag queen, prostitute, junkie, and commune leader. “Issan’s story contributes significantly to the history of the gay community and its response to AIDS”.–Randy Shilts. Photos.
Read more about Street Zen (Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1993)