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”

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”