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WayFinder Talk

Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

We give Wayfinding Talks in our Sangha. It is the story of our search(ing) for the path of the Middle Way (already there). We all are searchers and discoveries, but we all are not awe (mindful) of it and fewer still share it with others. So, a few weeks back I was asked by a new member of Falmouth Zen what my story was. 

I’m a WWII Warbaby, born February 11, 1945, while my dad was a military policeman guarding German prisoners in Swindon, England. Mom (15 when I was born) and Dad were children of the Depression, poor and never finished high school. I was the first on either side to do so.  Born in Macon, Georgia moved to Monticello, Maine until I was five, and then back to Georgia. I was seven years old before we had indoor toilets.  

I went to public school in Forsyth, Georgia, received a second alternate appointment to West Point, did not go, but did attend an Essentially Military College (EMC), North Georgia College in Dahlonega, Georgia. I majored in American history and sociology, lost my commission because of back problems, was drafted and deferred because of the back condition. I received a scholarship to and completed graduate school in Memphis, Tennessee, did further graduate work at North Carolina State University. I have been married twice and have two daughters and four grandchildren. 

I was involved in the Civil Rights movement and worked in Historically Black Colleges for thirty years, was a college professor for thirty years had a consulting business for thirty-five years, and ran a family flea market for twelve years. I began my study of Buddhism in the late 1990 and formal training in 2003 (Atlanta Soto Zen Center), became a disciple in 2007, founded the Falmouth Soto Zen Sangha in 2010, wrote a small book in 2015 (Like String for Beads) was ordained in 2014, and became a fully transmitted priest (Shiho) in 2020, and am currently writing my memoirs to be completed in 2025. Through all of this I’ve struggled with anxiety and drinking, heart conditions, two heart attacks, and cancer. 

I practice daily what I have found that reduces my suffering and I hope the amount of suffering I cause in the world. I am aware of this and deliberate in my actions. I offer what I have found, and the experiences I have had as an open view of my life. I follow ethical guidelines of priesthood, and use Upaya (the means I have) to point to conditions and variables of how one might reduce suffering in the world, while helping serious students along their practice path whether it be informal or leading to Shiho-full Dharma Transmission .

Turning 80 in 2025, I find new insights galore in aging, and in teaching. Both of which I hope to continue until I die. 

Do you know the way to San Jose?

I've been away so long

I may go wrong and lose my way

Do you know the way to San Jose?

I'm going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose

LA is a great big freeway

Put a hundred down and buy a car

In a week, maybe two, they'll make you a star

Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass

And all the stars that never were

Are parking cars and pumping gas

You can really breathe in San Jose

They've got a lot of space

There'll be a place where I can stay

I was born and raised in San Jose

I'm going back to find some peace of mind in San Jose...

Join us Tuesday night at 7:00 PM/ET in person or on zoom

Happy 2024,


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