“We are here to awaken from the illusion of separateness.”
— Thích Nhất Hạnh
I started practicing sitting meditation in the early 1990s after reading Eknath Easwaran’s translation of The Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha from the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. Soon after I read Thích Nhất Hạnh’s “Being Peace” and this became the foundation of my mindfulness and Dharma practice. I have enjoyed and continue to learn from Vietnamese, Japanese, Tibetan, Chinese, European, American, and other Buddhist teachers, communities, and traditions. I am inspired by Thích Nhất Hạnh’s vision of a universal global ethics based in engaged Buddhism that adapts to different places, cultures, people, and times.
As a student of Vietnamese Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh I was given the lineage name Noble Continuation. I am a member of the 10th generation of Dharma practitioners in the Liễu Quán lineage of the Vietnamese Thiền (Zen) tradition and a member of the 44th generation of Dharma practitioners in the Línjì school of the Chinese Chán (Zen) tradition. I took refuge and received the Five Mindfulness Trainings of the Plum Village tradition from Venerable Thích Từ-Lực, a Dharma teacher ordained by Thích Nhất Hạnh, along with a joyful community of supporting Dharma teachers and monastics from the Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism.
I am grateful to all teachers and those who have nurtured, supported, challenged and helped me along the path. My list of gratitude in Dharma is ever-growing and includes:
- Tuk for teaching that we bow to the Buddha in each other.
- Thầy for the way of understanding and peace.
- A nun whose Hawthorne Street talk touched me in the mid-1990s.
- Bertolucci and Berkeley for introducing me to Tibetan buddhism.
- Twin Lakes and the glacier who held me and taught me about the Earth.
- Dave Barrett for Tai Chi and Qigong.
- Utne Reader for publishing “Just Quit!” in 1996.
- All the mud.
- The monks who played basketball after meditation in the park.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama for butterflies in New Jersey in 2005.
- Monks of the Drepung Loseling Institute for mandala and mala.
- The Rubin Museum for music and art.
- The Burmese lay and monastic community in NYC, at the UN.
- Naropa and the mountaintop family in Boulder.
- Venerable Karma Namgyel for mandala sand in childhood’s river.
- Brother Stream for re-imagining activism.
- Venerable Thubten Chodron, Sravasti Abbey.
- All the monastics at Sravasti Abbey.
- Venerable Sangye Khadro, Sravasti Abbey.
- Bob Thurman for SF and Dharma.
- Dr. Jay L. Garfield for provoking my reflections on ethics and engagement.
- Monica, Paul. and the Mindfulness Community of Victoria.
- Eihei Peter Levitt for dealing with what is right in front of me.
- The Salt Spring Zen Circle for welcoming me in their Sangha.
- Mimi Kuo-Deemer for Qigong.
- Kenley Neufeld for inspiring me to understand Sangha-building.
- Brother Embrace for beautiful delicious mud.
- My, Melanie, Jonathan, Eric, Jo-Ann, and all at Sugarplum Sangha.
- Wind Island Sangha for coming together in joy.
- Kaira Jewel Lingo for teaching songs and solidarity.
- Venerable Thích Từ-Lực, Chua Pho Tu, Compassion Temple.
- Sister True Vow, Jo-ann Rosen, John Salerno-White, Brian Kimmel, Alex Cline, Karen Hilsberg, Chau Yoder, Lennis Lyon, Sheila Canal, Nisi Segor, Viviane Ephraimson-Abt, Helen Hobart, Denise Kato, Alex Singer-Telles, Joe Reilly, Andrew Vellino, Sharon Moy, and many others.