I attended St. John's College (A'13), where I wrote my senior essay on Plato's Phaedrus. As I studied the books on the College's program of study, I read mystics like Plato, Plotinus, and St. Augustine; in my extracurricular reading, I also encountered works of Eastern religion, including the Dhammapada, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Tao Te Ching. Like many before me, I realized that the essential sameness of these works transcends their apparent differences. I then began a meditation practice as a pragmatic way to experience the perennial truth of mysticism.
My meditation practice initially began with exploring Shinzen Young's Unified Mindfulness system. I did a retreat at a Goenka Vipassana center, and practiced with that methodology for some time. I did a retreat at the Center for Mindful Learning in 2013, and, after an extended trip through Asia (and a brief retreat practicing in Chiang Mai, Thailand), I joined CML's Monastic Academy as a resident in 2015, and trained there for over two years. My meditation practice has been influenced by Shinzen Young, Soryu Forall, Edward Salim Michael, Upasaka Culadasa, and C G Mayya.
During my time at the Monastic Academy, I realized that my studies at St. John's were also a form of training - a training of the mind. It also became clear that I needed to train my body. I have explored multiple forms of exercise and movement, and am especially interested in contemplative movement practices. This is my vow, my unique commitment to being of service: a mutually supportive feedback loop between mind, body, and attention.
In 2018, I took bodhisattva vows with Shinzen Young and Soryu Forall, and received the name Tasshin, 達真. 達 means to "reach," "arrive at," "achieve," or "touch." 真 means "truth" or "authenticity." Most people pronounce this with the Americanized pronunciation, which sounds like the English words "toss shin."