He’s had a wide ranging experience in several Buddhist traditions, studying with teachers in Tsaotung Ch’an, Rinzai Zen, Tibetan Rime, Thai Forest Theravada, and Korean Zen traditions. He has studied with numerous teachers and gone on many retreats.
Currently his main focus is on Mindfulness practices rooted in the earliest Zen teachings and Compassion practices rooted in the Bodhisattva tradition. He sits regularly with two different sanghas in the Kansas City area, as well as practicing with an online sangha.
He started studying Buddhism in 2000, mainly focused on overcoming his own suffering.
From 2010 until 2014 he ran the Dharma School program there, teaching kids about Buddhism (including his own).
In 2014 he went through lay teacher training through the Richard Hunn Association for Ch’an Studies. He took the Mahayana Precepts from the Brahmajala Sutra and became a teacher of the Tsaotung Ch’an tradition.
In 2018 he was recognized as a Dharma Teacher in the Dharma Winds Zen Order, an online network of Zen hermitages.
On Being a Teacher:
I didn’t realize I was a teacher until people started asking me to teach. That’s how it goes sometimes. While I’ve gone through several traditional certification systems, I also think such things are becoming increasingly irrelevant in the modern world. The truth is everyone can be a teacher and as students we should just be learning from everyone. I think the future of Buddhism is more Community-Centered and less Master-Student Centered. I see myself as more of a tutor than a teacher, just pointing the way and trying to inspire. I am a certified Meditation Teacher and more and more often it seems like that’s what people want and need, rather than really traditional Buddhist philosophical teachings.
I practice what I call Hermit Zen, meaning I spread my teachings around whenever I can, rather than trying to build a temple, start a community, or attract students. I want to share my practice with simplicity, sincerity and humility but I don’t offer all the services that a Buddhist temple may offer. I consider myself in the tradition of Zen lunatics like Han Shan and Ikkyu.