This weekend I had an opportunity to participate in a Moosis Zen Journey in northeastern Vermont offered by Zen teacher and certified Maine guide Peter Seishin Wohl, of Treetop Zen Center in Oakland Maine. I was there filming for my documentary, Zen in America. A group of us arrived on Friday late afternoon and pitched a tent on a platform built for that purpose on a property Peter owns in the woods. At first I wasn’t sure how the weekend would go or how my spirits would be during the whole
As a native of the Midwest, it’s easy to fall in love with all of the wares New Mexico offers. Having driven there twice now from Ohio in the last two years it always feels more like I’m coming home than leaving it. When I first arrived in New Mexico in early May, I stayed at the home of Harvey and Kathryn Hilbert (or, Daiho and Shukke) in Las Cruces, at the southern end of the state. Throughout their living space hangs the artwork of the two – hard to adequately describe, as with any
I’m now in Las Cruces, New Mexico filming at sanghas led by Daiho Harvey Hilbert of the Order of Clear Mind Zen, a Soto Zen tradition in the lineage of the late Soyu Matsuoka. Daiho met me near his house and we grabbed some breakfast burritos before meeting his wife and fellow Zen teacher, Kathryn Shukke Hilbert. We then headed to Veterans Park on Roadrunner Parkway for filming, a place where Daiho (a Vietnam war vet) sits regularly; I also filmed some Skype interviews he did with students and
Hi everyone. I’m back on the road filming and am in Tulsa, Oklahoma staying with friends. I interviewed Ely Kugo DesJardins, an independent Zen practitioner who currently practices at home. This is an angle I definitely want represented in the film as many people find themselves in a similar situation, travelling to retreats. The interview went great but later I heard him sing and was pretty blown away! So we decided to film him singing one of his own original songs and it turned out great. I’ll
I just returned home after my Indiana and Michigan leg of filming. It’s nice to be back in my own bed at the moment, though I’m a bit sorry to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people I met while on the road. These last few days I was filming at Sokukoji Zen Community, led by Sokuzan Bob Brown of the Kobun Chino lineage. I interviewed Sokuzan and all of the other sangha members while there, and I realized why I love interviewing so much — it gives me an opportunity to get to know others in a way
I left Great Wave Zen Sangha in Ludington, Michigan earlier today and am now at Sokukoji in Battle Creek (to the south). In Ludington I interviewed John Gendo Wolff Sensei and his wife, Tandy Hoen Wolff. The two were amazingly comfortable in front of a camera and were very warm hosts, opening their home to me and spoiling me with some shrimp pasta. Before heading south today, Gendo Sensei took me around Lake Michigan for some footage. Wow it’s cold near the shore! It was beautiful and I got some
I attended Sunday services here at the Grand Rapids Zen Center and Buddhist Temple in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a temple formerly affiliated with the Korean Teago Order of Buddhism. I got some nice shots of the fairly large crowd there in attendance and got to interview some sangha members as well as the Abbot, Ven. Deokwun Russell Pitts. We had a chance to talk about Korean Buddhism while exploring a wide variety of other topics. We spoke for about an hour. Grand Rapids is a city undergoing a lot
As most who have been following this blog or our Facebook page know, I was filming this week at Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, Indiana — a liberal college town who one sangha member informed me is the Austin, Texas of Indiana (the giveaway are all of the bike lanes). I arrived a day prior to the start of their Genzo-e retreat and had an opportunity to interview both Shohaku Okumura Roshi and Yuko Okumura for the film. Okumura Roshi (or, Hojo-san as sangha members often refer to him) was
Hey everyone! Thanks again for helping make the Kickstarter campaign a great success. I did the math and actually ended up getting a reliable used car for the travel, as it would save money for the project in the end (rather than using rental cars). So, I’ll be travelling in a reliable 2003 Nissan Maxima for the film. It drives great, has pretty low miles on it and my mechanic gave it his approval. So, we saved some money that way and I’m able to leave at the drop of a dime whenever. This month
What a blast this entire month has been! With just under three days left on our Kickstarter fundraising campaign, you can still help out. At the $25 pledge level you can still get the first film in the series on DVD, and at the $108 pledge level you can receive the full DVD series. I estimate the release to be in January of 2017. There are still a number of other cool rewards for you to choose from, as well. Last week, Zen in America met it’s minimum funding goal on Kickstarter of $10,000. Since
Fundraising for the film has now begun! Visit our Kickstarter! Today, many Americans are practicing the Zen way. This film series documents the history and practices of an ancient tradition. ZEN IN AMERICA: A documentary film about Zen Buddhism in North America is the first documentary series of its kind to thoroughly examine the history and practices of Zen in North America. The series will take us to Zen temples throughout North America to show how Zen Buddhism is being expressed in our
With an estimated release date of 2017, Zen in America will be a multi-part documentary series on Zen Buddhism in North America. Now in production, the series will introduce viewers to Zen's history in North America through first-hand accounts and experiences. I'm travelling around the country to collect interviews and footage thanks to a successful earlier Kickstarter campaign.
Our current funding needs are being met with funds we are raising through GoFundMe.