Sokuzan met Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, in late 1973 and became a student.
In 1974, Sokuzan attended the first session of Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
In 1975, he established the Dharma Study Group of Battle Creek, Michigan. It offered weekly meetings for meditation and study, as well as monthly nyinthuns, which are all-day retreats.
In 1978, Sokuzan became an authorized meditation instructor through Vajradhatu in Boulder and later completed the Vajradhatu Seminary in 1980 at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.
In 1990, Sokuzan met Kobun Chino Roshi, a Zen meditation master from Japan, and became a student of his, and received lay ordination from Kobun’s brother, the late Hojosama Keibun Otagawa. Sokuzan received full ordination as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage in 2007 and Dharma transmission in March of 2013 from Kuzan Shoho Michael Newhall, Abbot of Jikoji in Los Gatos, California.