Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi founded the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) in 1967. He would eventually pass his lineage to eight of his students most of whom eventually left and founded affiliated centers in other cities. The expansion in the 1970s was followed by a period of turmoil after the 1983 announcement that Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi was suffering from an advanced case of alcoholism and had entered a rehabilitation program. Subsequently, most of the affiliated centers led by his dharma heirs dropped their official connections to the ZCLA, and began the focal points for new networks of Zen centers. In the years since the controversy died, those people who traced their lineage back to Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi have become part of a cooperative fellowship, the White Plum Asanga.
Lineage in Zen Buddhism is traced primarily through those Zen masters who have the authority to transmit their own lineage to another recognized teacher. The teachers of the many centers affiliated with the San Francisco Zen Center (SGZC) have received their authority from Shunrya Suzuki who left two dharma heirs: Hoitsu Suzuki or Richard Baker. A number of presently independent Zen groups began as branches affiliated with the SFZC and their teacher stands in Shunryu Suzuki's lineage. The same year the ZCLA experienced its problems, the SFZC went through its own trauma, when Richard Baker was forced out of leadership due to sexual misconduct.