Kobutsu Malone

Biographical Outline

古佛 マローン

(Ko-Butsu: Ancient Buddha, Shin-do: New Way)

Venerable Kobutsu Malone (Kevin Christopher Malone) is an American Rinzai KobutsuZen Buddhist Priest ordained in 1993.

Kobutsu was born in Nottingham, England in 1950 and is the only son of Ethel Mary Malone and Kevin B. Malone. He emigrated from England with his parents to The Bronx, New York in 1957 and later the family moved to Paramus, New Jersey. Kobutsu is a survivor of Catholic clerical sexual abuse in Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell, New Jersey.

He has been a practicing Buddhist for 40 years. He presently practices with Venerable Shodo Harada, Roshi of Sogen-Ji Monastery in Okayama-shi, Japan when he is able.

Kobutsu was a mechanical engineer and has worked in the flight simulation, ophthalmological instrumentation, pure physics research and pharmaceutical processing equipment industries. He holds United States and British patents in flight simulation and educational devices. He has worked in developing adaptive electronic equipment for handicapped people.

Kobutsu established the Dharma Song Zendo in Sing Sing Prison in New York State in 1992 and served for eight years as the volunteer Zen Priest at the facility. In 1996 he established the Flowering Dogwood Zendo at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a state prison for sex offenders in Avenel, New Jersey. Kobutsu is co-founder with E-Kun Liz Potter of The Engaged Zen Foundation which is a 501 (c)(3) corporation founded in 1994 originally to foster contemplative meditative practice in prisons, develop monastic alternative sentencing/post release programs and deal with the complete circle of human rights imperatives.

The foundation is inexorably committed to the abolition of punitive incarceration in any form, the dismantling of the prison industrial complex, and the adoption of alternative, restorative, methods of dealing with what is colloquially known as “criminal justice.” The Engaged Zen Foundation has published Gateway Journal and Zen Karmics™ as instructional media for incarcerated people concerned with spiritual practice and human rights issues behind bars.

Kobutsu is the author of Prison Chaplaincy Guidelines for Zen Buddhism: A Sourcebook for Prison Chaplains, Administrators, and Security Personnel” a book in its second printing intended to provide valid information to prisoners, correctional and judicial professionals about the practices of Zen Buddhism in prisons and jails.

Kobutsu has been involved in death row chaplaincy since 1996 after serving as spiritual advisor for Jusan Frankie Parker and witnessing his execution by the State of Arkansas. Kobutsu served as the spiritual advisor to Amos Lee King, executed by the State of Florida on February 26th, 2003. Kobutsu spent the last day with Amos and witnessed his medicalized murder.

Kobutsu is involved in anti-death penalty work on state and national levels. He is also involved with human rights, anti-racism, anti-oppression organizations and prison reform groups. Kobutsu is a long time member of the Newark, NJ based People's Organization for Progress. He took part in the Civil Rights and Anti War movements, he was a Conscientious Objector during the Viet Nam War. He is a writer, a public speaker, and deals with human rights/anti-oppression issues, Zen and Buddhist religious matters, prison reform/abolition, drug policy, death penalty issues and LBGT equality issues. In recent years, he has become intensely focused on issues of clerical sexual abuse, physical abuse, misrepresentation and fraud.

Kobutsu is 63 years old, a single parent of two sons, Ian (Taikan) 29 and Sean (Ryushin Taido, zenji) 31. Taikan is a licensed journeyman electrician in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Ryushin is a Rinzai Zen Monk. Kobutsu lives in relative hermitage with his Newfoundland/Great Pyrenees mix dog, Harley-Bear 7, in a remote village on the coast of Maine. He may be reached through: kobutsu@engaged-zen.org