Geoffrey Shugen Arnold

The head of the Mountains and Rivers Order – and the man who succeeded Ryushin Marchaj as abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery – is Geoffry Shugen Arnold. They are both Dharma heirs of the founder of the Order, John Daido Loori. “I wasn’t raised in a religious home,” Shugen tells me, “but, when I wasContinue reading “Geoffrey Shugen Arnold”

Konrad Ryushin Marchaj

When I visited Zen Mountain Monastery in June 2013, the abbot at the time – Konrad Ryushin Marchaj – was leading a wilderness retreat listed in the program calendar as “Born As the Earth: Wilderness Skills Training.” It was described as an opportunity to learn “basic outdoor skills and engage the teachings of the wildContinue reading “Konrad Ryushin Marchaj”

Joan Sutherland

In the Harada-Yasutani koan curriculum as passed down through Robert Aitken and his heirs, when one resolves a particular koan, one may be given examples of responses given by one’s ancestors in the lineage. One of my ancestors – although she is actually younger than I – is Joan Sutherland. Joan is Dharma teacher, butContinue reading “Joan Sutherland”

James Ford

James Ford founded the Boundless Way Zen centers in New England and later established the Blue Cliff Zen Sangha in California. He was also, until his retirement shortly after I met him, a Unitarian minister. We first met in his office at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, Rhode Island – located on the cornerContinue reading “James Ford”

Tenku Ruff

Tenku Ruff is concerned that Zen in the west is too often presented from the perspective of white boomer males. Currently she is board president of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association – the youngest person to ever hold that office – and is engaged, she tells me, in leading the association through “a generational shift.”Continue reading “Tenku Ruff”

Seiso Paul Cooper

Seiso Paul Cooper took jukai – the ceremony in which one formally accepts the precepts and declares oneself a Buddhist – for the first time with Eido Shimano in the Rinzai tradition in the 1980s. He was unable, however, to form a personal relationship with Shimano as a teacher. “I’d just see him on retreatsContinue reading “Seiso Paul Cooper”

Hozan Alan Senauke

In the midst of the Vietnam War, students at Columbia protested the university’s involvement in the war effort by occupying the administration building. The police intervened with force. 132 students, four faculty members as well as twelve police officers were injured, and over 700 protesters were arrested. Alan Senauke – now Vice Abbot of theContinue reading “Hozan Alan Senauke”

Rebecca Li

Rebecca Li teaches within the North American Chan tradition. “Zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character denoting “Chan” – 禪. The practice first arose in China, and the classic koan collections are all Chinese. Rebecca is a second-generation Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng Yen, whose Dharma Drum Foundation now has affiliate centersContinue reading “Rebecca Li”