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”

Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat

My hosts at Zen Mountain Monastery had told me that Dai Bosatsu was just on “the other side of the mountain.” But when I arrive, I feel like I’ve travelled much further. All things, of course, are relative. I had thought that the Morgan Bay Zendo in the Maine woods had been isolated, but toContinue reading “Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat”

Elaine MacInnes

Sister Elaine MacInnes – who was born in  Moncton, New Brunswick – begins her autobiography on the beach at Shediac, a place significant to my family. My wife spent her summers there as a child, and it was one of the places she was most eager to introduce me to after we’d met. When ourContinue reading “Elaine MacInnes”

Myo On Susan Linnell

Myo On Susan Linnell is a Zen priest in the Rinzai-ji order living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is also a studio artist. “I think of myself as a monk/artist,” she tells me. Her hair is cropped, and she is wearing meditation robes as we speak. “Studio artists are an isolated group of people. IContinue reading “Myo On Susan Linnell”

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”

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”