Zen is a school of Buddhism, with roots in India, that took shape in China and then migrated to Japan.
Rinzai Zen (which is our tradition) is one of the main branches of Japanese Zen. The Rinzai branch historically developed to support samurai warriors in accessing genuine insight, fearlessness, and grounding within a dangerous and demanding life. (They had no time to lose, and in a way, neither do we.) It emphasizes achieving an early and direct personal experience of awakening (kensho or satori in Japanese, “seeing your true nature” and the nature of reality — traditionally known as enlightenment, and referred to by the Buddha as “entering the stream”), and then practicing further to digest suffering at the roots, and deepen and embody your insight so that it extends into every moment of life.
Our direct lineage within Rinzai Zen is represented for us by our teacher in Japan, Zen master Shinzan Miyamae, of Gyokuryuji temple in Gifu prefecture, and his successor in London (my primary teacher), Zen master Julian Daizan Skinner, who founded Zenways and certifies our teaching and practice here at Entering the Stream.
Our style of Zen is unique because of how deeply, swiftly, and holistically it liberates and restores balance to mind, body, and energy, reacquainting us in unusually short order with our true selves and most genuine lives, and unwinding inner knots and constructs through the specific method of practice, so that we become free to express ourselves fully and live at peace. I have seen Rinzai Zen liberate and save lives (including mine!) more deeply and completely than any other method I’ve found or witnessed so far. It unlocks a perspective of unbroken peace and compassion (“awakening”), and also transforms our experience from the inside out (“inner alchemy”). From my perspective, it’s one of the deepest, swiftest, and most beautiful paths to inner peace, healing, and embodiment of reality that exist in human history and knowledge, and we are so fortunate to engage with it.
The Zen techniques we’ve inherited are a gift, distilled over generations, and passed down to support us in relieving suffering at its roots and coming to live our most authentic and beneficial lives. It’s an honor to pass these methods on to you.
My personal style of Zen teaching at Entering the Stream emphasizes compassion, trauma-safety, deep and lasting inner healing to reduce suffering, diversity, inclusion, social justice, doing the important work of unwinding bias and unconscious prejudice within ourselves, creating peace through living in grounded, genuine alignment (letting go of cultural expectations, and taking our cues from within), the return to awareness of and respect for the feminine energies in the universe, and respect for nature, our planet, and building a more sustainable civilization, to safeguard a long and healthy future for all beings.