I’m a Zen priest, author, and teacher. This means that I’ve dedicated my life to examining the truth, figuring out a good way to live, and sharing what I’ve learned with others. This is all a fancy way of saying that I am interested in the human condition. I live and write about life as honestly as I can, which encourages other people to be brave about life and about truth too. Over and over again I’ve found that I am stronger than I think—that I am bigger than my ideas and conceptions of myself. I write so that I can share these hard-earned triumphs with you.
Excerpt from "Bow First, Ask Questions Later"
When I think of my time at Nisodo, I think of the Zen maxim, “Die sitting, die standing,” and how it perfectly encapsulates this attitude I’m talking about. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the nuns I’ve met die standing, or in the zazen posture. It’s how they live their life, and it’s how I want to live mine too—fearlessly, and by fully engaging with each moment, with “steady attention to reality here and now.” Whether or not I marry and have children, live with a family or in spiritual community, I want to do it with a straight back, on my own two feet. This is what “die sitting, die standing” means to me—not a morbid fixation with death but full commitment to all circumstances and moments, including death.
The first month I was at Nisodo, a senior nun told me, “People say the abbess is a man because she’s strong, professional, and doesn’t show her emotions. But remember that she’s not a man. She’s her own woman.” I think it’s important to share representations of spiritual women who are their “own women.” There are many ways of being a woman, and I want to tell the stories of women who die standing.Read more