Della Goertz

Photo of Della Goertz in the early days at Zen Center

Della Goertz in the early days at Zen Center

Zen do tei jun dai shi
Zen way, faith, refined naturalness
July 11, 1913 – Feb 5, 2012

Della, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, was 99 1/2. She was one of Suzuki Roshi’s early students at Sokoji Temple in San Francisco and lived in City Center’s 340 Page Street building for many years.

An excerpt from a letter from Della on Suzuki Roshi, posted on

In almost every talk Suzuki Roshi encouraged us to have faith and confidence in our Buddha Nature. What was wonderful about Suzuki Roshi is that he thought I was wonderful. Everyone had that same feeling. You felt he was there just for you.

He autographed Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind with the character ‘Harmony.’ I said that would be an inspiration for me to have harmony in my life. He said, ‘You don’t have to worry.’ Such confidence! As I left him I always went away feeling special for having been in his presence. ‘We love the great ones, because they bring out the greatness in us.’ Suzuki Roshi was a great teacher because he could see the Buddha nature in us.

Photo of Ananda Dahlenberg, Della Goertz, Betty Warren

Ananda Dahlenberg, Della Goertz, Betty Warren

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