The Hartford Street Zen Center, temple name Issan-ji, is a Soto Zen practice center located in the Castro district of San Francisco. Issan Dorsey (a former drug addict and drag queen) brought the center from its early beginnings as The Gay Buddhist Club of 1980 to the modern-day Hartford Street Zen Center in 1989-being made abbot there by the San Francisco Zen Center. In 1987 the group had opened the Maitri Hospice for those dying of AIDS, which Dorsey died of in 1990. It was the first Buddhist hospice of its kind in the United States, and today the center owns a building next door which houses the sick and dying. In 1991 Philip Whalen, who died in 2002, took over as abbot of the Zen center.
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