Below is a timeline of important events regarding Zen Buddhism in the United States. Dates that have "?" are approximations.
- 1970: Edward Espe Brown publishes the Tassajara Bread Book
- 1970: Shunryu Suzuki's book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is published by Weatherhill
- 1970: Shasta Abbey is established in Mount Shasta, California by Jiyu Kennett
- 1970: James Ishmael Ford received Dharma transmission from Houn Jiyu Kennett 2 May 1971
- 1971: Yamada Koun moves to Diamond Sangha in Hawaii to lead sesshin
- 1971: Kobun Chino Otogowa becomes abbot of Haiku Zen Center
- 1971: Kyozan Joshu Sasaki founds Mount Baldy Zen Center
- 1972: Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim arrives from Korea in Providence, Rhode Island and founds the Providence Zen Center
- 1972: Green Gulch Farm opens in Sausalito, CA as part of the San Francisco Zen Center
- 1972 First meeting of the Zen Center of Syracuse
- 1972 Toronto Zen Center is formed with help of Philip Kapleau
- 1972: Dainin Katagiri founds the Minnesota Zen Center
- 1972: Eido Tai Shimano receives Dharma transmission from Soen Nakagawa
- 1973: Haku'un Yasutani dies
- 1973: Kyozan Joshu Sasaki founds Bodhi Manda Zen Center
- 1973: Jakusho Kwong founds the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center
- 1973: The Cambridge Zen Center is founded as part of the Kwan Um School of Zen
- 1974: Robert Baker Aitken receives Dharma transmission from Yamada Koun (this possibly occurred in 1985, instead)
- 1974: The Chicago Zen Center is founded by Philip Kapleau
- 1975?: Taizan Maezumi founds the White Plum Asanga
- 1975: The Chogye International Zen Center is founded by the Kwan Um School of Zen in New York
- 1975: The Nebraska Zen Center is founded by Dainin Katagiri in Omaha, Nebraska, currently led by Rev. Nonin Chowaney
- 1976: Shohaku Okumura helps found Pioneer Valley Zendo in Charlemont, MA
- 1976: Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji opens in the Catskill Mountains of New York State
- 1976: Tetsugen Bernard Glassman becomes Taizan Maezumi's first Dharma successor
- 1976: The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is built, the largest and first Chinese Ch'an community in the United States
- 1977: Kyogen Carlson receives Dharma transmission from Jiyu Kennett
- 1977?: The Atlanta Soto Zen Center by Zenkai Taiun Michael Elliston is established
- 1978: The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is founded
- 1978: Genki Takabayashi becomes resident teacher at the Seattle Zen Center
- 1979: Maurine Stuart becomes President of the Cambridge Buddhist Association
- 1979: Omori Sogen Roshi of Tenryu-ji founds Daihonzan Chozen-ji in Honolulu, HI, the first Rinzai Zen headquarters temple established outside of Japan.
- 1980: Ch'an master Sheng-yen begins teaching in the United States
- 1980: Dennis Genpo Merzel becomes Taizan Maezumi's 2nd Dharma successor
- 1980: Hartford Street Zen Center is established
- 1980: Zen Mountain Monastery in founded in Mount Tremper, New York by Taizan Maezumi and John Daido Loori
- 1981: Toni Packer leaves Rochester Zen Center and founds her own non-Buddhist retreat
- 1981: Taizan Maezumi founds Yokoji Zen Mountain Center
- 1982: Maurine Stuart receives the informal title roshi from Soen Nakagawa in a private ceremony
- 1982: The Rinzai temple Daiyuzenji is founded in Chicago, Illinois as a betsuin (branch) of Daihonzan Chozen-ji by Tenshin Tanouye Roshi and Fumio Toyoda.
- 1983: Jan Chozen Bays receives Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi
- 1983?: Charlotte Joko Beck receives Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi
- 1983: The Kwan Um School of Zen is established by Seung Sahn Soen Sa Nim
- 1983: Zentatsu Richard Baker confers Dharma transmission to Tenshin Reb Anderson
- 1983: Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji is founded in Seattle, Washington by Genki Takabayashi
- 1983: Zentatsu Richard Baker resigns as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center amidst controversy
- 1983: Taizan Maezumi enters alcoholism treatment and is confronted about his sexual relationships with some students
- 1984: The Kanzeon Zen Center is founded by Dennis Genpo Merzel in Salt Lake City, Utah
- 1984: Wu Kwang receives Dharma transmission from Seung Sahn
- 1984: The New Orleans Zen Temple is founded by Robert Livingston in New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1984: Nonin Chowaney is ordained a priest by Dainin Katagiri
- 1984: Sojun Mel Weitsman receives Dharma transmission from Hoitsu Suzuki, son of Shunryu Suzuki
- 1986: Bodhin Kjolhede is installed as abbot of Rochester Zen Center as Philip Kapleau retires
- 1986: Furnace Mountain is founded in Clay City, Kentucky by Dae Gak and Seung Sahn as part of the Kwan Um School of Zen
- 1986: Toronto Zen Center is incorporated.
- 1986: Village Zendo is established in New York in the apartment of Pat Enkyo O'Hara
- 1987: Maitri Hospice begins caring for AIDS patients at the Hartford Street Zen Center (the first Buddhist hospice of its kind in the United States)
- 1987: Issho Fujita becomes abbot of Pioneer Valley Zendo in Charlemont, Massachusetts
- 1988: Blanche Hartman receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman
- 1988: Yamada Koun gives Dharma transmission to Ruben Habito
- 1988: Zoketsu Norman Fischer receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman
- 1988: Hsi Lai Temple is built, the largest Chinese Chan community in Southern California, a Triple Platform Monastic Ordination is convened
- 1988: The Kwan Um School of Zen is rocked by revelations that Seung Sahn had sexual relationships with students
- 1989: Issan Dorsey becomes abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center
- 1989?: The American Zen Teachers Association is founded
- 1989: Nonin Chowaney receives Dharma transmission from Dainin Katagiri
- 1989: Yamada Koun dies
- 2000: Deer Park Monastery is founded in Escondido, California as part of Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing
- 2000: Groundbreaking at Chapin Mill, the rural Zen Retreat center part of the Rochester Zen Center, donated by Ralph Chapin
- 2000: White Plum Asanga acknowledges Gerry Shishin Wick as a roshi
- 2000: Taigen Daniel Leighton receives inka from Tenshin Reb Anderson.
- 2000: Bon Yeon receives Dharma transmission from Seung Sahn
- 2001: Maylie Scott dies on May 10 at age 66
- 2002: Peter Schneider (zen priest) receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman
- 2002: Philip Whalen, abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center, dies on June 26
- 2002: Great Vow Zen Monastery is founded by Jan Chozen Bays and Hogen Bays in Clatskanie, Oregon
- 2002: Kobun Chino Otagowa dies of drowning in Switzerland
- 2002: Seirin Barbara Kohn becomes head priest and guiding teacher of The Austin Zen Center in Austin, Texas
- 2003: Jy Din Shakya opens the Hsu Yun Temple in Honolulu before passing away on March 13
- 2003: Paul Haller becomes abbot of San Francisco Zen Center
- 2003: Brad Warner publishes the book Hardcore Zen
- 2004: Philip Kapleau dies on May 6 from complications of Parkinson's disease
- 2004: Seung Sahn dies on November 30
- 2004: Soeng Hyang succeeds Seung Sahn as Guiding teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen
- 2004: Angie Boissevain receives Dharma transmission from Vanja Palmers, a Dharma heir of Kobun Chino Otagowa
- 2004: Enkyo Pat O'Hara receives inka from Tetsugen Bernard Glassman
- 2004: Golden Wind Zen Order is founded by Ji Bong in Long Beach, California
- 2005: Daiyuzenji (formerly a branch temple of Daihonzan Chozen-ji in Hawaii) is established as an independent Rinzai temple in Chicago by Dogen Hosokawa Roshi.
- 2006: Gerry Shishin Wick receives inka from Bernard Glassman
- 2006: Merle Kodo Boyd received Dharma transmission from Wendy Egyoku Nakao, becoming the first African-American woman to do so.
- 2006: The Nashville Mindfulness Center is founded by Tiếp Hiện in Nashville, Tennessee
- 2006: Dochong Paul Lynch receives Inka from Ji Bong
- 2007: Zendo is completed at the 135 acre Chapin Mill Zen Retreat center Batavia NY.
- 2008: Roko Sherry Chayat is formally recognized as a Roshi during a shitsugo ceremony. This is the first time this ceremony has been performed on American soil.
- 2008: Genjo Marinello receives Dharma transmission from Eido Tai Shimano on May 21
- 2008: Hsi Lai Temple hosts a Triple Platform Ordination Ceremony for three weeks to celebrate its 20th anniversary
- 2008: Dochong Paul Lynch founds the Five Mountain Zen Sangha in the Korean Linji & Japanese Harada/Yasutani Zen Lineage
- 2009: Sheng-yen dies on February 3 at age 80
- 2009: Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is founded by Taigen Daniel Leighton in Chicago.
- 2009: John Daido Loori dies in New York, age 78.
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