Dwight Goddard was a pioneer in the American Zen Buddhist movement. He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1861. After graduating from college as an industrial engineer, he made his fortune in service to the United States Government during World War I.
Greatly disillusioned by the brutality of war, Goddard became a missionary for the American Board. He was sent first to China, and later to Japan, where he lived in and studied at a Zen Buddhist monastery outside Kyoto for nearly one year. In 1924, having moved back to the States, he began writing books on Buddhism. By the time of his death in 1939, he had authored and edited nine titles, among them, The Buddhist Bible, the book credited with influencing the views of Jack Kerouac, iconic Beat Generation author.