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”

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”

Zengetsu Myōkyō Judith McLean

Enpuku-ji is a small Rinzai temple on rue Saint-Dominique in Montreal. It is entered through a small side-garden. The only signage is a notice on the gate post bearing the single word “Zen,” an arrow pointing right, and the street address. The abbess, Myokyo Judith McLean walks up the street just as I pull intoContinue reading “Zengetsu Myōkyō Judith McLean”

Jan Chozen Bays

The Great Vow Monastery is located in Clatskanie, Oregon, a self-proclaimed Christian township of 1700 persons. It is the residential practice center for the Zen Community of Oregon and is under the leadership of Jan Chozen Bays and her husband, Hogen. Great Vow is dedicated to Jizo Bodhisattva, the protector of children, which seems appropriateContinue reading “Jan Chozen Bays”

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

               This is the story Blanche Hartman told me about how she first became engaged in Zen practice: “One day in 1969 I was at the house of my best friend, and we were just having coffee. She had a headache, and it was so bad she asked me, ‘Could you see that?’ I said,Continue reading “Zenkei Blanche Hartman”