In all these offerings, Daido was unusual among second generation American Zen teachers. Only a few shared his depth of experience and knowledge of the natural world, and among them, no one worked as intimately through artistic expression to evoke the teachings of Dogen’s Zen. Daido’s unique combination of hiker/backpacker/canoeist, scientist/chemist, and photographer/seer determined his expression of Zen in America and his concern for the well- being of the Earth. His great love for the non-dual realm of the insentient was present in dharma encounters in dokusan, and in chats over coffee at breaks. “I’m in love with all of it—from the damp, pungent smell of the swamps to the delicate fragrance of the spring breeze, the shimmering summer rains and the winter blizzards that cover the scars of the landscape. . . . I feel this love as a vibrant intimacy, involving my whole body and mind with the whole world itself. The illusory boundaries that separate animate from inanimate, cultivated from wild, self from other, can’t confine this love; it propels itself with a natural power.”

But this love was not without urgency or responsibility. Daido felt deeply the crucial importance of dharma practice right now, in this troubled century. He knew that waking up was not something that happened in a vacuum, but rather right in the midst of the ten-thousand threatened things. He encouraged students to keep going past the first taste of enlightenment to deeper levels of non-dualistic understanding. For Daido, spiritual development was not a matter of personal achievement, but rather a critical awakening to the plight of the world as we know it today. He wrote, “Deeply realizing ourselves and the true nature of these mountains and rivers is perhaps the most important and profound thing each of us will ever do in our lives. We should not take it lightly. Our lives and the life of this planet depend on it.”