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Thread: Introductions

  1. #1


    Hello Treeleaf Sangha

    My name is Greg. I'm 27, single and live in Vermont. I work in health-care, and keep myself busy with a variety of activities including music (guitar & fiddle), yoga, fencing, golf, blogging and reading.

    I've been studying Buddhism for the last two years. Last year I took the plunge and decided to become a Buddhist. Most of my work has been on my own. I have not been able to squeeze a Sangha into my work schedule. The options in my immediate area are a little limited. Fortunately I have found a home here at Treeleaf and am very happy to be practicing with all of you.

    Up to this point I have not approached Buddhism from a purely Zen approach, but have found a great deal of value in it. In fact Zazen has been the meditative approach that has been the best fit for me. However, from a theological approach I have taken a lot of inspiration from Theravada Buddhism. The Pali Cannon has been a rich source for me in understanding the Dharma, and applying a Buddhist approach to my life.

    Beginning in January of this year I began a blog to assist me in journaling my thoughts and applying the Eightfold Path to my life. . .In case any one is interested in seeing more about my path, or discussing yours please drop in and see me at ---- I'm not trying to plug anything, only offering to share the experience, the internet has been a useful tool for me in overcoming the lack of a brick and mortar Sangha in my life.

    I'm looking forward to practicing Zazen daily here and learning from everybody involved.

    May You be Happy,


  2. #2
    Hi, I'm Kirk, a 47-year-old lapsed New Yorker living in a village in the French Alps. I'm very interested in this sangha, since I'm far from any dharma centers, and need some motivation to get back to regular practice. While I'm not a Zen Buddhist, I have studied other forms of Buddhism over the years, and have long been interested in Soto Zen, because of it's being the least "religious" of the Buddhist traditions, at least from what I have understood.

    Personally, I'm looking for what Stephen Batchelor calls "Buddhism without beliefs"; I find the whole theological thing to be a distraction, and am far more interested in seeing within, than imagining what is without.

    Thank you, Jundo, for starting this up. I'm hoping that I will be able to practice more regularly because of this.


  3. #3



    My name is Kenneth, I'm 39 and I live in Frankfurt, Germany, although I originally come from the USA. I became interested in the Buddhadharma about 4 years ago and have been striving to integrate more practice into my daily life since then. I have great respect for Nishijima Roshi and his approach to Dogen Zenji's teachings, and look forward to the opportunity to get to know Jundo as one of his Dharma heirs, as well as all other Soto Zen practitioners or interested persons here. As a lay Buddhist with a family life and without a suitable zendo in the area, my contact with other Buddhists has been primarily via the Internet, with the exception of a few 'real-life' local events and a trip to China last year. I've recently been admitted to Dogen Sangha International and am grateful for being born in an age in which it's possible to overcome geographical boundaries to establish such contacts.

    Many thanks to Jundo and all others involved in getting Treeleaf set up. I hope it will flourish and that I may contribute a posting from time to time.


  4. #4

    Re: Introductions

    Hi there---my name's Anastasia, and I'm learning about Soto Zen very slowly. I don't know much about it, but what I know, I like.

    Thanks, Jundo, for providing people with this place. It is good to be here!

  5. #5
    Hi everyone,

    I'm Gareth, I'm a 27 year old from Wallasey (near Liverpool) in England. I'm currently a Paratrooper in the British army, however I may be moving on soon. I've been a practicing Buddhist for about five years. I didn't really convert or anything lol, I just started reading about world religions and realised Zen Buddhism was what I thought anyway. After that I started taking my practice seriously (but not too seriously, what's the point?).
    I believe in stripping away what isn't helpful or what may be a barrier to understanding so I think Master Dogen got it right and that's why this is my practice.
    I hope to speak to everyone in due course.


  6. #6
    Hi I'm Beau.

    I'm 22 and I live in Rancho Cucamonga, California. I've been studying religion for several years now. I've always had a soft spot for Buddhism, especially Soto Zen. I've made a commitment to sit zazen every day. The ZenTV netcasts have been a wonderful help in keeping this promise.

  7. #7
    Hello Everyone,

    Sorry about the netcast, the bulletin board, the this, the that. The netcast should be up and running, and running well, in the next few days ... next week for sure. They are still in Beta, and are upgrading their servers. I received a nice message from someone, and I would like to post my answer.

    Gassho, Jundo at the Dials

    Dear Jundo,

    In light of the recent technical difficulties with [the netcast], perhaps it
    would help if the videos were uploaded to youtube for viewing when the
    blogger site falls short. Also, this would allow more people to gain
    access to the them. It's just a thought...

    The daily zazen has helped me to become more disciplined in my
    practice. Thank you for offering a Sangha for those of us who can't
    make the trek to a zendo.

    I wrote back....

    Please keep sitting even without the daily broadcast (they tell me the problems will be solved over the weekend). It will be back shortly. You can sit with it, you can sit without it ... you can sit with whatever comes.

    You Tube is what I am considering for a backup. In fact, you have inspired me. I will do a recorded sitting tonight and put it up on YouTube or Google Video tonight. At least, I will try. One reason I do not use them is that they do not handle daily, long (20 or 30 minutes) sittings very well, and the upload is not smooth. Also, the service I am using ... once they fix their problems ... should allow us to do live broadcasts of retreats and such, that can be watched and joined in in real time.

    Anyway, this is all new and an experiment. I do not wish to compare myself or these endevours to Dogen when he built Eiheiji, but we are building a kind of temple here too ... one made of new technology, not wood. However, maybe old Dogen had problems too those first few weeks ("Hey, when you gonna put a roof on this place???" etc.)

    Keep sitting. Keep sitting. Keep sitting.

    Gassho, Jundo.

  8. #8
    Hello everyone.

    My name is Kellen. I am 17 years old and I live in Kansas City in the United States. There is a Soto Zen center about 2 1/2 hours from where I live but, needless to say, I've never made it out there. So it's great to be at a place like this.

    So interesting to meet people here from all over the country (and world). Thanks to everyone involved for the oppurtunity.

    May you be well and happy,


  9. #9
    Hello Everyone!

    Nice to see so many people from different countries here. I happen to be a 28 year old man from Germany, who, due to having married a woman from the Netherlands last year, currently resides in a lovely town a few minutes outside Rotterdam. As a 16 year old I spent one year in Japan as an exchange student (and if I had been a bit more disciplined back then, I wouldn't have to re-learn the whole accursed language NOW. ), definitely the most important year of my life. Finally my karma, or whatever, caught up with me in 2006 and after years of meditating outside of established formal systems I found my home in Zen. No question marks anymore, no bullshit.

    However, unlike a rather famous Zen practitioner, I would never dare to cut a cat in half, just in order to make a point. The stick my wife would hit me with after such a display (we have three cats - btw) would surely be much more painful than whatever else I could imagine.



  10. #10
    Very nice to meet everyone.

    I am so glad the Sangha is growing!!

  11. #11
    Hello all,

    I'm 18 years old and from Canada. I became interested in Buddhism around the age of 13. I do not belong to a Sangha or strictly practice the teachings of only one sect. I find they all have something to offer. I am mostly drawn to Zen. It's nice to meet you all.


    I very much appreciate your effort in providing a Sangha-like atmosphere for those unable to attend a Sangha in real life. I have Social Anxiety Disorder which has prevented me from going to school, working, etc... and, of course, joining a local Sangha, despite how much I want to. Thank you for doing this.

    Namaste _/|_

  12. #12
    Well this seems to be the "hip" place to introduce yourself, so I believe I'll partake in it....

    Hello everyone, I'm 17 years old from Florida USA.

    I started becoming interested in Buddhism about a year ago when I first learned of it, but haven't really meditated or studied dharma until only a few months ago.
    There aren't many places to learn the Dharma or meditate since I live in a highly Jewish/Christian area, so online sanghas like this one are a blessing.

    At first I studied some of the Thervada Buddhist texts ( tripitaka) and built my foundations from there. I have never really read up on zen, but I would be more then happy to learn from Jundo and everyone else here online.


  13. #13

    I'm 25 from Orlando, FL, USA. I have studied Buddhism academically and have been dabbling in Buddhism as a personal practice for a while now but had never established a daily practice until a few months ago. I haven't been able to join any sitting groups, because I am a graduate student; if we're not at school, we're expected to be either heading towards school or in the hospital.

    I'm a bit sketchy when it comes to shikantaza, so I always begin sitting with a period of counting the breaths; I figure if I'm just spinning my wheels in the latter half, at least I'm gaining some concentration in the former. I look forward to learning more about the Zen form of meditation through this online sangha.

    Thank you.

  14. #14

    Welcome from Jundo


    I just want to say to some of the folks who recently posted for the first time that, please feel free to drop me a private email at any time if you have some question. I will do my best to try to answer.

    We have many experienced sitters in the group too, and we help each other in this group. So, lots of folks here with good advise.

    In a 'nutshell'" just sitting means to sit without any goal or purpose. We let the mind become quiet, not actively thinking about anything. When thoughts come, we just let them drift out of mind like clouds in a blue sky ... we return again and again to the blue, open sky. We are just looking at a beautiful blue sky, and the scenery around us, without particularly thinking anything about it. We return again and again to an openly aware, calm and quiet mind. We do not judge the experience as 'good' or bad.' There is no 'bad' Zazen sitting ... even the bad ones!

    Basically, we are practicing how to approach all of life in the same open and non-judgmental way.

    'Just sitting' is also a foundation for many other new perspectives (on the nature of our selves, the world, life, time and many, many other things) that are at the heart of Buddhism.

    See you for a sitting together on the blog!

    Gassho, Jundo (or "Jim" if somebody prefers)

  15. #15


    My name is Xander and I'm 29 in Kansas City.
    I was originally interested in Zen through my martial arts studies and attended a couple of practice sessions at the Kansas Zen Center in Lawrence (home of KU). But I was totally frustrated by the whole experience. Several years down the road I've read books (Hagen & Brad Warner) and surfed the 'net and I'm finally starting to get what was trying to happen at college. LOL. Anyhoo. I enjoy the Soto Zen approach so here I am!

  16. #16


    gassho and hello to everyone!
    What a very special place to find--this lovely zendo and this world embracing sangha! Currently I live in Santa Monica, California.
    I've been sitting for a while--since before my son was born--so that makes it over 20 years now(!!!). I sat first with Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka Roshi (Soto lineage) at the Long Beach Zen Temple--which was really just the living room of the upstairs apartment where he lived.
    He gave me my dharma name: Keishin.
    But I got my start down the zen path a few years before that when the dishwasher at the restaurant where I worked gave me my first zen book (Dropping Ashes on the Buddha - teaching letters of Seung Sahn Soen-sa nim (Chogye order of Korean Buddhism)). He (the dishwasher) invited me to the Providence Zen Center to attend his wedding and the huge (8 foot, 12 foot?) golden Buddha at the temple was just WAY to much for me to assimilate at that time, but I read the book, and zen has been with me ever since.
    I have sat with 4 different groups a minimum of 3 years, maximum of 5--so that makes 14 years sitting with 4 different teachers.
    Matsuoka Roshi died in '97: especially to him, and to my other teachers as well, I owe much gratitude.
    Finding a good match with a teacher is so important. At this time I seem to be in an awkward stage of development: I don't want to be part of an organized hierarchy, but I don't feel 'fully baked' and ready to come out of the oven, either: I've still got (and will always have, I'm sure) a ways to go. I need a teacher to make sure I go straight. I find it helpful to 'talk zen' at times, but zen isn't something you can just talk to anyone about. I need a sangha! While I appreciate scholarship and benefit from someone else's hard work and study in the esoteric aspects of zen, my great interest lies in the ordinariness of it, in the waking moments of the day's normal activities.
    From what I see and read at this cyber zendo, I'm in the right place.
    so, may we help each other, and may we all realize the Buddha Way together, gassho, Keishin

  17. #17


    Hello All!

    I'm Bruce, a 21 year old college student (and computer repair guy) from Viewtown, VA (about an hour south of DC). I'm also a neophyte when it comes to Zen. My parents are Baptist, but I could never really believe in the things that were required, because I never felt like I experienced it myself, so that was the end of that. I started doing Shorin-ryu Karate at the end of high school, which really got me into Japanese culture and introduced me to the world of Zen practice. I've been fascinated with it since then, but I really didn't pursue it as a path. When I found Jundo's netcast, it really reinvigorated my study and interest, so I have now started sitting with him everyday . I can only sit for about 5-10 minutes so far, so I'm mainly trying just get into the habit of doing it daily. I'm in the process of reading my first book about Zen, "The Three Pillars of Zen" by Kapleau, and I'm very excited to participate in the book club here on the forum. I think this place is great for people like myself who don't know anyone else that practices Zen (or even Buddhism in general) to interact with others who have a vested interest in the same ideals. I look forward to getting to know all of you!

    -- Bruce F.

  18. #18
    I´m Bengt, a 50 yo industrial worker from Sweden. I´ve been interested in buddhism for about 30 years but my practice hasn´t been regular until last year.
    More later

    Slapsko/ Bengt

  19. #19
    Hello all,
    My name is Sean and I currently attend Reed College where I am focusing on Classical Studies. The Latin nerd in me chose the name PaxAnimi which translates as Peace of Mind (Animi also translates as soul, feelings, character, pride, etc.) I am new to Zen, but have been practicing/studying Buddhism on and off for a few years now. Anyways, I hope to get to know you all and am looking forward to practicing with this sangha.

    Peace and happiness,

  20. #20
    Hello David,

    I think that I have pushed all the buttons, so you are now admitted to the community forum. We have some "spambots" (spam robots) trying to register, so I like to make sure that folks are actual Sentient Beings! Thank you for trying to register, and thank you for sitting.

    From time to time, please post something here and on the blog

    It is the best way to build a feeling of community, and for everyone to get to know each other. Some very nice people are participating, and some very strong and experienced Zazen sitters. Please write me at any time if I can help with something. My email is

    I would do the daily online sittings on the blog every day even if nobody were joing along, but it is very nice to know that people are getting some benefit from them.

    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #21
    Hello One and all,

    I am a Zen beginner. I am also a 32 year old stay at home dad to my two month and 5 day old son. I work from home a bit too. I live on the south coast of Spain (near Gibraltar) and like the outdoors. Over the last two weeks I have been doing a hell of a lot of sitting, I broke my fifth metatarsal doing the reverse of rock climbing.

    Thanks for the site Jundo and I look forwards to meeting everyone else. The book club looks good too.

    All the best,


  22. #22


    Hello from DownUnder,

    I have been sitting zazen now for about six years together with my wife. I used to practice Shingon-shu, but on a trip to Japan six years back I met a Zen guy and I've been sitting Zazen since.

    Thank you Jundo for the lovely site and the daily sittings. I have been sitting and listening since joining.


  23. #23
    Hello Everyone,
    My name is Eric and I've been practicing Zen off and on for about 6 years. I sat briefly with a Soto Zen group in Pittsburgh but I took a job as an air traffic controller and was relocated to northern VA.

    Thanks for this wonderful site!

    Take care,

  24. #24
    Member Martin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Wherever the next mediation is. Every now and then I make it back to Norfolk, England.
    Hello Everyone

    My name is Martin. I am 46 and I live in the UK with my wife and three kids. I am new to Buddhism, having followed (tried to follow!) Soto Zen for a year and a half.

    I think Treeleaf Zendo is such a great idea. Thank you Jundo. I look forward to sitting with, and talking to, you all.



  25. #25
    Shalom from Tel Aviv,

    My name is Itai. I received the Precepts (Jukai) in 1995 and have practiced in the Soto Zen tradition for about 15 years. I haven't found a sangha in Israel so, thank you, Jundo for creating Treeleaf! For a number of years, I taught Hebrew at a university in Portland, Oregon. I also studied early music and harpsichord at Reed College. Since then, I've lived in Mexico, Jordan and now I'm back in Tel Aviv going to graduate school (History and Arabic).

    Kind regards to all,


  26. #26
    Hello all!

    My name is Justin, 20 years old, a resident of Austin, TX. I'm a student, record collector (really need to work on that non-attatchment bit :wink, and aspiring writer.

    Four years ago I read Kapleau's "Three Pillars" cover to cover, fascinated by the idea of Enlightenment and making tentative stabs at sitting zazen based on the diagrams in the book. As I'm sure happened with many other "diagram-sitters," I quickly became frustrated and (without a teacher to encourage me) abandoned the practice.

    To make a very long story short: I did the typical college student philosophical tourism after that, but one day about two months ago it hit me like a brick to the face that Soto Zen was what I'd sought. I know now to be mindful of making zazen or enlightenment another "if only" that will solve all my problems, and I'm slowly learning to "just sit."

    I've been trying to sit at my local Zen Center when my schedule permits, I've been doing a lot of reading, and I'm very happy to have stumbled across Jundo Cohen's internet sangha.

    I look forward to finding the Path with all of you.

  27. #27
    Hi to everyone!

    After 70+ posts, I should maybe introduce myself a bit?

    I'm paige, from Western Canada. I started practising meditation a bit more than 10 years ago, at a very (North) Americanised Soto Zen temple. Once I started university, I moved to a small city with no Buddhist community to speak of (besides an erratic non-denominational sitting group). My practice has varied over the years between diligently sitting for 30+ minutes twice a day, to whenever I felt like it, to quitting altogether for a year or more.

    I've since moved again, to a much larger city. There is no zendo here, so I am instead attending a Linji Ch'an monastery. I'm once again dedicated to daily sitting (for even longer stretches now), as the nuns can easily detect when I've been slacking off and will call me on it.

    Although I've been studying sutras under the guidance of my various teachers from pretty much the very start of my practice, I've only recently (in the past 2 years or so) become interested in practising Buddhism as a religion/philosophy. I still tend to stumble over identifying myself as a Buddhist, I'm not sure why.

    Besides that, I'm a computer programmer, though currently unable to work due to disability. I'm very grateful for the Treeleaf zendo and community forum, as my health problems have me feeling quite isolated at the moment, and I can no longer attend my centre's classes, services and retreats as often as I would like.

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous
    Hello Sanga!

    My given name is Daniel Lee. I live in a very small community called Old Boston, Texas (where they filmed parts of the Apostle ) on the outskirts of a small city Texarkana, on the border of Texas and Arkansas, a few miles from Oklahoma and Louisiana. I've practiced Tae kwon do for 23+ years or so, Escrima 16 years, jujitsu (weeping style) for 2 years. I meditated when I was a teenager but had a awkward experience that led me to believe it wasn't for me. I remember beginning then a few minutes twenty or so into it, everything began getting smaller. Like my consciousness was outgrowing my body on a cosmic level. There was such a rush sensation I became scared and said wow, but no way man. Well since I've sat in meditation on a few times since then but believe it may have been an over active imagination or truly vivid illusion. Anyway thanks to Jundo I am happy to sit for for the sake of just sitting. Truly a remarkable philosophy.

    I'm just an ordinary guy with 3 kids, no dog, and deep admiration for experiencing life to the fullest. Oh and I'm a grey headed 31 year old.

    That was me in disguise .

  29. #29
    Dearest TLfer's,

    This is Louis, and I've been sitting with you all for the better part of two months pretty much rain or shine. I live in Stamford CT, with my wife Tamiko and our 20 month old daughter Emma. Flako, our dog is the cause of my precepts lapses.

    Now in my mid 40's, I first was introduced to the Kwan Um Zen of Seung Sahn while in college in Cambridge MA and later in Providence RI. The 108 morning bows kept me fit, and I became quite fond of the chanting. Five years ago I would make a weekly trek to White Plains NY to sit with a group affiliated with the White Plum lineage under Robert Kennedy, who is also a Jesuit Priest in the Catholic Church. Our retreats were held in this locale, Inisfada, Gaelic for Long Island and quite swank. Having grown up Catholic, I found this group a welcomed progressive movement within my tradition.

    That was interrupted by a prolonged illness (much better now), and most recently the good fortune of being a father. I find Jundo a hoot, and trust his approach. I am grateful for the leaf's existence, and look forward to contributing to the Sangha.

    Gassho and with affection to all,

  30. #30

  31. #31
    Welcome Louis!

    I am a fellow Nutmegger, having grown up in Newington and attended grad school at UConn (go Huskies!).

    Having also grown up Catholic, Robert Kennedy's work has interested me. I have wanted to meet him since I read a few of his books.

    I am sure you'll fit in around here just fine!

  32. #32

  33. #33
    Hi Louis,

    Welcome. I used to live in Waltham, MA, which is not too far from Cambridge and also had strong ties to Providence, RI when I was living in Middletown and Bristol, RI. (I used to play with the 'Providence Mandolin Orchestra'). Small world, eh?


  34. #34
    Hello . . . I am a married 39 year old with three small children ages 3, 3, and 4 (yes, the 3s are twins). I have been meditating since 1994 with a couple of years in there where I fell away. I started attending a local Tibetan Buddhist center in 1994, but my personal practice was always more like Zen practice. I quit attending that group after about a year because I found it to be too ritual-oriented and full of practices that I couldn't connect with because of the vast cultural gulf between Tibetans and Americans (deities, tantra, etc.).
    I have always been drawn toward the directness of Zen and have recently been looking for a teacher to assist my practice. I have never had a teacher, so I have spent 12 years reading and meditating on my own. In some ways I think all of that solitary work has been great for me, but I also know that there are important ways of knowing that lie outside of the written word.
    The idea of a virtual zendo is intriguing because the nearest Zen center with a regular teacher is over two hours away. With my job and family that is a difficult trip to make regularly. I have been impressed with Jundo's teachings and find myself returning daily for them. I was truly grateful when I stumbled across the site. I look forward to getting to know you all.

    Respect to all,

  35. #35
    Hey Bill,

    nice to have you around, welcome.


  36. #36
    Hi Bill,

    Welcome! Great having you here!


  37. #37
    Hi everyone:

    My name's Rob. I was born and raised in and around Los Angeles, except for two years in Mississippi and Caracas. I crashed my first computer when I was two (in 1967), and shortly thereafter began walking to school, uphill, both ways. We moved a lot when I was a kid, and it wasn't until about 1977 that I spent two Christmases in the same place. I started reading about Buddhism in the early 80's, but I'm a lazy bastard and am still struggling to establish a daily zazen practice. I read a lot. I had something I call a kensho experience around 1990 (while reading!), but that never did much for me. My wife and I met at Disneyland, and have been married for almost 13 years. We use our vacations to scout out beaches to retire to someday. I work as a regulator in a vehicle emissions testing program and used to be a technician in the same field. I started sitting weekly with Brad Warner a couple of years ago after reading Hardcore Zen.

    I joined this group because I really admire what Jundo is doing with this "online zen" thing. I hope to learn from all of you, and not piss any of you off too much.


    "If we learn from our mistakes, then I'm a VERY educated man."

  38. #38
    Welcome Rob and all the new folks!

    Gassho, Jundo

  39. #39
    Hey Rob,

    Welcome! Go ahead and piss us off, we can take it! :wink:


  40. #40
    Welcome to all the new guys from another fairly new guy!

  41. #41


    Hellos to Blind Ox (Daniel Lee) SmoggyRob, Don'tKnow (Bill) and Louis--

    Gosh, Jundo do you think you might start hosting yearly tax write off seminars we could attend for annual 'Treeleaf' get togethers and have the opportunity to actually meet each other? We could make it a pot-luck to cut down on expenses!

    But come to think of it--it is the cyberness of this sangha which makes it truly truly special!


  42. #42
    I think this is the original introductions thread

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