Kate Hartland is a Dharma Holder* for Boundless Way Zen and Practice Leader for Bright Sea Zen Sangha. Before coming to Boundless Way she had studied with both Philip Kapleau (Rochester Zen Center) and Toni Packer (Springwater Center) and has been practicing for a total of about 13 years. During the week Kate works at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, screening hundreds of thousands of compounds to look for new therapeutic drug candidates. On weekends she hurls herself down slopes on skis, or paddles one of her four kayaks, while documenting the evidence at her website.
* In the Boundless Way Zen school, the title of Dharma Holder is the beginning of formal Dharma transmission, the acknowledgment of deep insight into the great matter of Zen in alignment with one’s teacher. A Dharma Holder may give the precepts and receive formal students through the rite of shoken. A Dharma Holder may not transmit their own successors.
THE GUIDING TEACHERS OF BOUNDLESS WAY ZEN
Reverend James Ishmael Ford Roshi is the founding teacher of the Boundless Way Zen school. James has been a student of Zen for nearly forty years. He was ordained unsui and received Dharma transmission from the late Houn Jiyu Kennett Roshi, completed koan study within the Harada/Yasutani tradition and received Inka shomei from John Tarrant Roshi. In 2004 he participated in the first Dharma Heritage ceremony of the forming Soto Zen Buddhist Association in North America. This event, designed to be the equivalent of the Japanese Soto Zuisse ceremony, was a public acknowledgment of James as a senior member of the North American Zen community. James is also a Unitarian Universalist minister, currently serving as senior minister of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI. His undergraduate degree is in Psychology. He has also earned an MDiv and an MA in the Philosophy of Religion. James is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association. James is the author of two books: In This Very Moment: A Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism , Zen Master WHO? A Guide to People and Stories of Zen, and most recently If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break. He is the resident teacher at the Benevolent Street Sangha in Providence.
Melissa Myozen Blacker Roshi is a Boundless Way Zen priest and Dharma successor to James Ford Roshi. In 1981 she began studying Zen with the independent teacher Richard Clarke, a former student of Philip Kapleau, Roshi. After twenty years of study with Dr. Clarke she became the student of James Myoun Ford, Roshi. She was ordained a Soto Zen priest (unsui) in 2004 and completed shuso training in 2005. Advancing through the Harada-Yasutani koan curriculum she received Dharma transmission from James Ford in April of 2006, and was elected a guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. After hosting a Zen meditation group in their home for 20 years, Melissa and David founded Boundless Way Temple in 2009. Melissa is co-editor of THE BOOK OF MU, published by Wisdom Publications in April of 2011, and her writing appears in BEST BUDDHIST WRITING, 2012, published by Shambhala Publications. She is one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester and currently serves as Abbot of the Boundless Way School.
David Dae An Rynick Roshi is a lay Zen teacher, a Dharma heir to George Bomun Bowman who was sanctioned as a teacher by Zen Master Seung Sahn.
In 1981 he and Melissa began studying Zen with the independent teacher Richard Clarke. Since 1991 David has been studying with George Bowman, the first Dharma successor to the Korean Zen master Seung Sahn. Zen Master Bowman has also studied extensively with the Japanese Rinzai master Joshu Sasaki, and his Single Flower Sangha shows the marks of both traditions.
In 1992 David and Melissa were joined by several friends in beginning a Zen meditation group at their Worcester home. A year later they also began a sitting group at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester, where both David and Melissa had been and continue to be active members. David served as president of the church’s Board from 1998 through 2001.
David received Inga, formal recognition as a Zen teacher and Dharma heir from George Bowman in October, 2005. In 2006 he was elected a teacher of the Boundless Way Zen sangha. In 2011 David received final transmission from George Bowman and became Abbot of Mugendo-ji.
David is a life and leadership coach, one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, and currently its Abbot.
Josh Bartok, Sensei, Resident Teacher at the Greater Boston Zen Center
Josh is the teacher and Abbot at the Greater Boston Zen Center. He is a Sensei with Boundless Way Zen, and a transmitted Soto Zen priest, having received Denkai from James Ishmael Ford in July of 2011.
Josh was ordained in July of 2006 by James Ishmael Ford and served as the Shuso for Boundless Way in Spring of 2010, leading a three-month practice period. In 2001, he became James Ford Roshi’s first formal student in the Boston area, and in 2005, James asked him to start the Boston sangha. Josh first encountered Zen practice in 1991 while studying Cognitive Science at Vassar College. In 1992, he became a student of Roshi John Daido Loori at Zen Mountain Monastery. After college he was a monastic practitioner at Zen Mountain Monastery for a year and a half. In 2000, he left Loori’s Mountains and Rivers Order, and spent some time studying with Jan Chozen Bays Roshi in Oregon. Together with Rod Meade Sperry he founded Spring Hill Zen in Somerville/Medford. Shortly after founding Spring Hill they met James Ishmael Ford and Josh and several others helped found the Zen Community of Boston (ZCB). ZCB later became Boundless Way Zen (BoWZ). Josh’s Dharma is also influenced by the Zen teaching of Ezra Bayda and Shin (Pure Land) Buddhism as taught by Shinran Shonin, and interpreted by Tai and Mark Unno. He is the co-author, with Ezra Bayda, of Saying Yes To Life (Even the Hard Parts). authoring editor of Daily Wisdom, More Daily Wisdom, and Lama Zopa RInpoche’s How to Be Happy. As senior editor at Wisdom Publications, Josh he has served as in-house editor for over a hundred and fifty other books.