My View of Things:
I practice Hermit Zen as opposed to Temple 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.
I continue to study and practice under different Buddhist teachers in several different traditions. I think that we should all think of ourselves as always learning.
I’ve been practicing Buddhism for nearly 20 years.
I lost my parents when I was a teenager and had to face the reality of suffering and impermanence right away. That made me become a seeker, looking for something that could help me get through the challenges of life, which we all must face.
I was in college when I discovered Buddhism. I went to the University of Kansas and received a Bachelor’s Degree in English. I didn’t know if I should include that, but I think it probably does influence my writing.
I practiced for a decade on my own, just studying and meditating. I didn’t know any other Buddhists. Zen teachings were often my favorite, but not always.
In 2009 I started attending the Rime Buddhist Center, the largest Buddhist community in Kansas City. I went on numerous retreats and learned from visiting teachers of various lineages. I was trained as a teacher and took Lay Ordination and Bodhisattva Vows.
I took my kids to temple services and ended up leading the children’s program there for four years, meditating with kids and explaining Buddhist concepts in ways that they could understand.
A little later I studied with an organization called the International Association of Ch’an Buddhism. There I was trained as a teacher too.
I was writing on this website for a while when someone from the Open Heart Project reached out to me and asked me to teach there. Until that happened, I didn’t even realize that I was a teacher.
About My Dharma Name:
My Dharma name is Heng Dao, which means “Enduring Way.” Like most people reading this, my path has not been a straight line and I’ve endured a lot of hardship in order to get to where I am. I think a lot of people endure a lot. The Buddha taught that life is suffering. What matters most is how well we get through it.
Qualifications and Other Stuff:
I wasn’t a teacher until people started asking me to teach.
A wonderful teacher once told me he wished people were more humble in the biographies. I think that’s a good idea.
That being said, sometimes people tend to wonder what my influences are and where my teachings come from, so I’m providing a summary of the training I’ve received here.
Tsaotung Ch’an Tradition:
Title: Fashi (Ch’an Priest)
Brahmajala Sutra Precepts
Korean Zen Tradition
Title: Former Monk
Rime Vajrayana Tradition:
Title: Gegan (tutor)
Meditation Instructor Training Certification
Dharma Teacher Training
Refuge Vows, Pratimoksha (lay ordination) vows, Bodhisattva Vows
My writing has been published in Lion’s Roar, Patheos, The Tattooed Buddha, Elephant Journal, and other places