In 1988 I became interested in Zen Buddhism and began to practice at the Berkeley Zen Center and at Green Gulch Farm. My involvement grew and by 1989 I took three months off and spent a time of intensive residential practice at Green Gulch. I never really returned to the practice of law.
In September of 1990 I entered the monastery of the San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. I was there almost four years. I was ordained a priest by Sojun Mel Weitsman in September of 1994. Sojun is my root teacher but I have also studied with Yvonne Rand, Norman Fischer, Blanche Hartmen and Reb Anderson.
In the winter of 1998 I was shuso at Tassajara for the three-month practice intensive. This position is also known as “head monk.” It is a kind of graduate school for a priest. At that time one begins to lecture and engage in individual practice discussion with students. After being shuso one is invited to give public lectures and teach classes as well as to continue offering individual practice discussion.
I have served in various roles as senior staff at the three S.F. Zen Center locations. I have been Tenzo or Head Cook, Shika or Guest Manager, Ino or Head of the Meditation Hall and Director or secular “CEO” of a location.
I also teach meditation at the Solano State Prison in Vacaville and work with the men there.
In the fall of 1999, I participated in the formal training of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. I had already done hospice service in my own family and in my role as a priest but I felt that the formal training would be useful.
In 1998 I formed a meditation group in Vallejo California. The group grew and in late 1999 I left S.F. Zen Center and moved to Vallejo. Clear Water Zendo was formally opened in January of 2000. There is a full schedule, including daily meditation, a discussion group, classes, and a Saturday morning program that includes instruction and a lecture.