The Tattooed Buddha is co -founded by Ty Phillips and Dana Gornall. It started out as a personal blog by Buddhist author Ty Phillips. What started out as a showcase for his 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, and The Tattooed Buddha was born. Although the original mission was to remove the commercialization seen in modern American Buddhism, it has turned into an open dialogue for evolved approaches for dealing with day to day living, community building, relationships, interfaith, and even arts and entertainment.
The Tattooed Buddha is now a team: Daniel Scharpenburg, Alicia Wozniak, John Lee Pendall, Peter Schaller and Brent Purple Oliver.
The writing shared is thought provoking, moving, funny, and even at times sad as we tackle the true issues that every human being will encounter.
We invite you to join us on this journey; to set down the fixed notion of labels, and join hand in hand with us as we share and experience life together.
Ty Phillips, is the Co-founder of The Tattooed Buddha, as well as a freelance writer for LionsRoar, Patheos, BuddhistDoor International and The Tattooed Buddha. The former big city bouncer now turned Buddhist has a passion for writing, strongman, his children and spreading the dharma. He maintains a personal blog where his photography and daily ramblings can be seen at his blog. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.As part of his experience, Ty studied behavioral psychology and comparative religions and in June of 2012 he became an ordained Buddhist priest and in the following year, a lineage holder. Ty spends the majority of his time as a full time dad and freelance writer. He is a powerlifter, author, song writer, and occasional artist (at least he thinks so).
Dana Gornall is the co-founder of The Tattooed Buddha and mom of three crazy kids and a dog. Becoming a mother was the first step on the winding, sometimes rocky, path of transformation and she has never looked back. She has been writing stories since she could put words into sentences, writing books and poems from early on and is still completely in love with language of all kinds. The desire to connect with people on a deeper level has always been the catalyst for writing and still is every single time she sits down at the computer to bleed her heart onto the page.A writer, editor, sign language interpreter and lover of language, she finds bits of enlightenment in all of those connections. When not working or writing, you can find her lying outside in the dark night gazing up at the millions of stars or dancing in the kitchen with her children. You can also see her writing on The Tattooed Buddha, Elephant Journal, Be You Media and Yoga International.
Meet The Team
Alicia "Woz" Wozniak
Alicia “Woz” Wozniak is a Clevelander living in Florida, with the rest of Ohio. Tired of snow and cold, she and her daughter, Weez, moved to the Sunshine State from the Buckeye State in 2009. Since then, she’s been pretty happy; perpetual summer suits her well. A lover of words, particularly the funny ones, she’s a writer and editor who is very hesitant to have any tattooed on her body out of fear of permanent typos, but she’s very ready for another one; number six.Friends told Woz many years ago to start a blog. This platform has enabled her to develop her writing skills; making people laugh through her stories makes for a good day. She’s further developed her writing and, ultimately, her editing skills with elephant journal, The Well Written Woman, The Salvaged Boutique, and, of course, The Tattooed Buddha. She gives thanks for opportunities to hone her crafts and wade waist deep in words.
Woz can be found on Twitter (though she still doesn’t really get it), Instagram and on her blog. She can also be found teaching Zumba a few times per week and as often as possible going to yoga, giving up complete control to her teachers.
Peter Schaller is an artist and activist who lives and works in Nicaragua. He spends most of his time trying to figure out how to reduce his karmic and carbon footprints. He is the author of After the Silence, a collection of poems, essays and photographs, and he can be reached by email or on Facebook.
Brent Purple Oliver
Book Reviewer & Podcast Team
Brent Purple Oliver is an award-eligible writer, mindfulness coach, and speaker. He’s spent more than 20 years studying and practicing fairly conventional forms of Buddhism. These days, he’s a politely radical proponent of the modern mindfulness movement, advocating for a universal, practical, non-religious path to happiness and self-transformation. Brent is a coach in Shinzen Young’s Unified Mindfulness system because it’s just such an approach. He works with individuals interested in everything from alleviating stress to pursuing classical enlightenment. He also coaches groups, and offers presentations to companies, schools, and organizations curious about the benefits of mindfulness.
In addition to being a columnist at The Tattooed Buddha, Brent’s writing has also appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and Morpheus. He lives in Lexington, KY with his wife, two cats, and a crippling addiction to horror. Swing by his website brentpurpleoliver.com for more information.
John Lee Pendall
Editor & Sound Editor
John Pendall is a featured columnist & editor for the Tattooed Buddha, podcast host, musician, poet, and self-published author. He has a B.S. in psychology and lives between two cornfields in rural Illinois. His errant knowledge base covers, astronomy, theology, music theory, and quoting lines from movies. John practices the “Outer Way” which he describes as, “I guess it’s fundamentally DIY Buddhism and Taoism with a huge focus on autonomy, introspection, experiential learning and real world applicability. It isn’t traditional or secular. I only call it the Outer Way for convenience, it doesn’t actually have a name since it’s just about doing what comes naturally.” Feel free to check out his blog, Outer Way Zen.
Columnist & Workshop Faciiltator
Daniel Scharpenburg is a dreamer, an idealist and a mystic. He grew up in Kansas City, where he still resides. Having lost his parents during his youth, he began a long period of introspection that led to the Buddhist path. Along the way, he got a degree in English, which everyone told him would be useless. Facing crippling anxiety problems, he started exploring meditation and eastern spirituality. It was like he had found a part of himself that had always been missing. He’s been practicing Buddhism for over 10 years now. He has studied with many different Buddhist teachers from diverse lineages. He received personal instruction from Shi Da Dao, in the lineage of Master Xu Yun, and he has served as personal attendant to Karen Maezen Miller on a Zen retreat. He believes in taking Buddhist teachings out into the world, teaching in places where other teachers might not go, such as campgrounds and hippie drum circles. He considers himself a Zen Iconoclast and Radical, in the vein of his personal hero Ikkyu Sojun. He leads meditation workshops every year at the Heartland Pagan Festival and teaches classes in Buddhism at the Rime Buddhist Center. Daniel writes for a few websites including The Tattooed Buddha and Elephant Journal .
Social Media Marketing
Sherrin Fitzer works at a large women’s prison in the Midwest—a place she never expected to be, yet exactly where she belongs. She has been involved in teaching incarcerated prisoners since 1991. In addition to helping incarcerated women with their children, she facilitates a theatre troupe and meditation classes in prison. A feminist and vegetarian-attempting-to-go-vegan she loves film, music and theatre. She wrote for and helped edited The Post Amerikan Newspaper—the country’s oldest alternative newspaper. She has met The Ramones, has sock monkey sheets, and has been known to write something on her “to do” list that she has already done for the satisfaction of crossing it off of the list.
Featured Writer & Social Media Promotion
Deb Avery lives in the Southern United States with her animals, surrounded by mighty oaks and woodlands. All of Nature is her friend and teacher. She is an avid gardener, reader of books, lover of all beings and also has been referred to as a “bit of a weird one,” which she takes as a compliment. Having lived in many diverse places, including several years abroad, she has learned first hand that deep inside we are all one and the same. She enjoys long walks with her dog Sam, yoga and meditation.