Dené Granger Redding

Dené Granger Redding is the Head Cook at the Rochester Zen Center. I ask if people refer to her as the “tenzo.” “Occasionally,” she tells me. “When they’re being very formal?” She laughs lightly. “I feel that it gets used in an endearing way.” She is also in the Sangha Programs Coordinator, which, she explains,Continue reading “Dené Granger Redding”

Tetsugan Zummach

I met Tetsugan Zummach when she and her husband, Dosho Port, were teaching at Great Tides Zen in Portland, Maine. She later explained that she began her study of Buddhism when she was still in her 20s, prompted by what she termed “an overall feeling of discontent” “Discontent in what way?” “Wondering, looking around andContinue reading “Tetsugan Zummach”

Dang Nghiem [Huynh Thi Ngoc Huong]

At Blue Cliff Monastery outside Pine Bush, NY, Sister Dang Nghiem tells me people call her Sister D. She is Vietnamese by birth The Vietnamese language is tonal, and there is an element of that tonality in the way in which she speaks English. “My mother passed away by the time I was twelve, andContinue reading “Dang Nghiem [Huynh Thi Ngoc Huong]”

Sandra González

Driving along a county road in an agricultural region of New York State, I miss the side road to the Springwater Center on my first pass, come to a dead end, turn around, and watch more closely on the way back. Even when I pull onto the gravel road indicated, I’m not entirely sure I’mContinue reading “Sandra González”

Ilia Shinko Perez

In October 2013, I visited Great Mountain Zen Center in Berthoud, Colorado, in order to interview Gerry Shishin Wick. I was working on a book which profiled some of the direct successors of the pioneer teachers who established Zen in North America, and I was interviewing Shishin because he was an heir of Taizan Maezumi.Continue reading “Ilia Shinko Perez”

Shodo Spring

Shodo Spring – a Dharma heir of Shohaku Okumura in the Soto tradition – gained acclaim in 2013 for her Compassionate Earth Walk, a  three month spiritual hike along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route in the Great Plains. Before the Covid-19 outbreak, she led retreats at her farm in Fairbault, Minnesota, which put anContinue reading “Shodo Spring”

Domyo Burk

Shortly before I was scheduled to interview her in December 2019, Domyo Burk – the Guiding Teacher of the Bright Way Zen Center in Portland, Oregon – was arrested and spent the night in jail. “I heard through my network of climate activist groups that something was going to go on and that if peopleContinue reading “Domyo Burk”