The Men of TTB is a series where we focus on some of the men who helped get The Tattooed Buddha off and running and also continue to keep it growing! We sent out a few interview questions to some of these writers and artists so that we could find out more about them and highlight their many talents! We recently ran the series The Women of TTB if you’d like to see more of these amazing writers!
Tell me a little about yourself. Where do you live? What is your living arrangement like?
I’m in a bit of a transition, was living in Portland, OR with my fiance but I’m in the middle of a move back to LA, which might be for 6 months or might be long term. I’m just riding these waves.
Do you meditate? What is your practice like?
I do meditate, every day…insight meditation. My main practice is a mix of Metta, Tranquil Wisdom Insight, and choiceless awareness.
How did you get into meditation?
My punk rock buddy Bradford, who’s very much a Japanophile, turned me onto Japanese Zen something like 28 years ago. And it was out of absolute desperation, to find relief from my overwhelming suffering, that really got me to commit deeply to the practice.
Do you identify with any specific spirituality? If so, how did that happen for you? What spirituality were you raised in?
I reluctantly became a Buddhist atheist because, since I was forced to be a Jehovah’s Witness growing up, I wanted NOTHING to do with organized religion ever again. But Buddhism, specifically what the Buddha taught, kept pulling me in. It rang as truth to me and I also was able to directly experience the value of it, so I just could not deny it to be an effective path to freedom. Now as the years have gone on and my practice has deepened, I’m a lot more open to things. I’m not holding to fixed views, ya know? (that’s a line from the Buddha, FYI)
What are your goals in life? What do you hope to do some day? Do you have a bucket list?
Wow, that’s a big question. Lately I’ve been writing in my morning journal that I am creating a happy, healthy, and sustainable life for me, my fiance and my daughters. That’s my immediate intention for this life. I do teach a lot already, but I do have a goal to write some books. Plus I want to train with my teacher, Robert Beatty, more on how to effectively teach and hold space for longer retreats.
I’m trying to learn all I can about dealing with trauma too. Since I teach meditation and the dhamma to a lot of people in recovery from addictions, most of us have trauma as part of our background, and specifically trauma as one of the major causes of our addictions.
Oh, I also want to wake up completely. But I’m not clinging
What do you do for a living?
I’m a Buddhist teacher in the Insight tradition. Also, to pay the bils, I still work in sales.
How long have you done that?
Teaching and holding groups for 10 years plus now and sales for 30 years.
What is your most favorite memory?
How can I pick just one?! One of my memories that I bring up when I want to feel my heart open and radiate metta is a image of my youngest daughter when she was like four years old or so, and had her arms wrapped around my neck. She was hugging me with all her might, gritting her teeth in a big smile and I was just beaming too. So, when I think of Zada, my heart opens and I feel happy.
If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Hmmn, I’ve been lucky to meet a bunch of my favorite teachers, musicians, authors, and writers. But I suppose I really would have liked to meet Mr Rogers, or Dipa Ma.
How did you get involved with TTB? How long have you been involved with TTB?
I mean, come on…look at me!? When I first even saw the term The Tattooed Buddha online, I was immediately drawn in. And I’m really bad with a concept of time, so I couldn’t even guess how long I’ve been following TTB, but it was early this year 2020 when COVID first hit and y’all asked if I wanted to lead some weekly short self care meditations to help folks out, so that feels like that’s when I really committed and became a part of the “team.”
What would you like to see TTB do in the future?
Online class series, or day-longs would be cool…to really help deepen people’s practices. Maybe some affinity support groups…I have a soft spot for men’s groups since I have found so much benefit from them personally.
Oh, also some TTB MERCH!!!
Anything else you would like to add about yourself?
This is funny, my first reaction was “I already talk too much about myself!” But after sitting with this a bit, I guess I want to say that if a guy like me, who spent pretty much every waking hour up in my head, just relentlessly criticizing everything I did and said, also criticizing and being judgemental of everyone else around, but now has almost completely gotten rid of that harmful self talk and has been able to truly live comfortable in my own skin…if someone like me can do it, it’s absolutely possible for anyone to do it!
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