Daniel Scharpenburg, Podcast Team & Columnist

Where do you live?

Kansas City, Missouri

Besides writing, what do you do for a living?

In addition to writing I give video dharma talks at the Open Heart Project. But my day job involves paperwork in a government office: calculations, writing letters, preparing financial statements. It’s exactly as exciting as it sounds.

Do you have a blog?

Yes. Https://Danielscharpenburg.com

What places/publications have you written for?

 Patheos, Lion’s Roar, Secular Buddhist Association, Elephant Journal, Spiritual Naturalist Society and of course The Tattooed Buddha

Do you have kids? Describe your family?

I have a daughter named Nissa and a son named James. We live with my girlfriend and her two kids, so it feels like I have four sometimes. Every day the kids are with us the six of us meditate together.

How did you become involved with TTB?

Ty Phillips saw my writing on Elephant Journal and recruited me.

What are some goals you have in life?

Just raising good kids

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

I am Buddhist. When I discovered Buddhism it was like something clicked, like the thing that had always been missing for me. I practice and teach Zen Buddhism. I also sometimes delve into more general Mahayana teachings. I’ve taken vows in both the Tsaotung Ch’an tradition and the Rime tradition, for people that care about specifics. I practice Hermit Zen as opposed to Temple Zen, meaning I spread my teachings around whenever I can, rather than trying to build a temple, start a community, or attract students. I want to share my practice with simplicity, sincerity and humility but I don’t offer all the services that a Buddhist temple may offer. I consider myself in the tradition of Zen lunatics like Han Shan and Ikkyu.

My intent is to meet people where they are and help them work with their minds through the Bodhisattva Path.

What factors have influenced your spirituality?

I lost my parents as a teenager. That was kind of an in-your-face introduction to the pervasiveness of suffering. In addition to that, I just took to it really well. Studying these old texts and doing these practices comes really naturally to me.

Do you meditate? How often? How long?

Yes, five days a week. Between 10 and 30 minutes.

What are your favorite TV shows? Movies? Books?

I love true crime documentaries and superhero movies. The books I read are about 90% Buddhist related. Compass of Zen, Faith in Mind, Training the Mind.

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

I am just barely on the autism spectrum. I didn’t learn this until I was in my 30s. It was most likely caused by childhood epilepsy. As a result I sometimes pay attention to the wrong things and lose track of what I’m doing. But it also gives me a unique perspective. (At least I like to think so).