When I first started researching Buddhism, it felt slipping into a tailored suit. Much like some others have said, I realized in retrospect that I’ve always been a Buddhist.


Where do you live?

La Salle County, Illinois.

Besides writing, what do you do for a living?

Janitor at a giant superstore which shall remain nameless.

Do you have a blog?

I do: https://johnsmind.space/

What places/publications have you written for?

TTB, the local newspaper, and, ugh, Elephant Journal.

Do you have kids? Describe your family?

No kids yet, and most of my family is totally freaking insane. Myself included, though I like to think I’m in recovery.

How did you become involved with TTB?

Fellow Dharma misfit Daniel Scharpenburg asked me to submit a piece, so I did. Then another, and another, and another, then, whoa I’m an editor now! That’s awesome! Then, hey now we’re doing a podcast! TTB has become a big part of my life over the past few years. If possible, I’d like to drop out of the pure lunacy of the conventional workplace and devote all of my time to it.

What are some goals you have in life?

To learn to live simply and master the subtle art of moderation. Also to be a Buddha, I guess.

Are you Buddhist? Spiritual? Do you subscribe to a specific religion? Why or why not?

Yeah… I’m definitely a Buddhist. I practically fart gathas. Buddhism was the first religion—and yes, it definitely, legally a religion; if you’re a Buddhist just bite the bullet and accept that you’re religious—that really made sense to me. I mean, there’s plenty of it that doesn’t make any sense at all, but a vast portion of it is totally coherent. When I first started researching Buddhism, it felt slipping into a tailored suit. Much like some others have said, I realized in retrospect that I’ve always been a Buddhist.

What factors have influenced your spirituality?

I hit puberty and the world came to an end. I basically went on a 10 year long existential crisis during which I scoured the world’s religions and philosophies looking for answers. “Why am I here?” “What’s the point?” “Why do we suffer?” This eventually brought me to Buddhism, courtesy of the show Life. Besides that, I don’t know, I’m an intellectual who wears long overcoats and fedoras on the outside, but I’m a hippie at heart. Buddhism satisfies both of those sides of me.

Do you meditate? How often? How long?

I usually sit twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes each. But, I’m a layperson. I have to work, do housework, and cut loose to some Judas Priest every now and then. So, I try to practice all day long no matter what I’m doing. I’m passionate about finding everyday meditations that are the same whether we’re formally sitting or out and about.

What are your favorite TV shows? Movies? Books?

I could probably write a novel-length list of all my favorite things. But I’ll try to whittle it down to my A List. Music: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Genesis (Peter Gabriel era) TV shows: The Office, Burn Notice. Movies: Beetlejuice, Batman, Jurassic Park, And Now For Something Completely Different. Books: Intensity and From the Corner of His Eye by Dean Koontz, Buddhist Phenomenology by Dan Lusthaus, the Platform Sutra and the Hsin Hsin Ming.

Do you have a funny story? Interesting thing about you?

I was born a month premature. I originally went to college for broadcasting. Umm… I’m ambidextrous. My hair started turning gray when I was 15. I can play six musical instruments.


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The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha was founded by Buddhist author Ty Phillips and Dana Gornall. What started out as a showcase for Ty's writing, quickly turned into collaboration with creative writer, Dana Gornall and the home for sharing the voices of friends and colleagues in the writing community. The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. So while not necessarily Buddhist, we are offering a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living.

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