Shinzen Young is My Kind of Kick Ass Dharma Teacher!

I’ve recently took a deep interest in Shinzen Young after listening to his interview on Buddhist Geeks. I’ve heard of him a long time ago (more than ten years ago in a Thinking Allowed interview) but he didn’t register on my radar. I almost missed a once in a lifetime opportunity. Serendipitously, I had a second chance to get to know Shinzen at a much deeper level.

Why am I interested with Shinzen Young? Let me count the ways…

1. He is the most articulate Buddhist teacher I’ve ever encountered. He uses clear and concise language in his teachings. It’s probably because he is multi-lingual and scientifically inclined so he understands the importance of semantics and precise language.

2. He is passionate with mathematics, science, and technology. He can integrate his knowledge of Western Science and Eastern Contemplative science. I especially like his algorithmic approach to teaching the dharma. I’m currently waiting for my copy of Science of Enlightenment (audio CDs). (DONE: See my review here: The Science of Enlightenment is Paving the Way for the Enlightenment of Science.)

3. He has extensively studied and practiced all types of Buddhist “vehicles”–Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Theravada–but he chose to teach the Vipassana (or Mindfulness) technique because it’s the most science-like and user-friendly of all meditation techniques.

4. He distilled the essence of Vipassana practice in his own system of teaching using precise language and clear instructions. See Basic Mindfulness.

5. I share his passion for “secularizing” the dharma. In fact, in one of his interviews, he mentioned that one of his missions is “to make Buddhism obsolete”. How can you get more secular than that?

6. His concept and articulation of spirituality is very integrated.  Listen to his examination of spiritual experiences and description of the 4th Dimension of Spirituality.

7. He’s uber-geeky! He could probably be the first teacher with AI (Artificial Intelligence) as dharma successor.

8. He reminds me a lot of Ken Wilber. Like Wilber, he can “pontificate” for hours. He just flows with words and ideas. I think he can out-talk Wilber. For me, Ken Wilber is to Integral Philosophy as Shinzen Young is to dharma and meditation practice.

Don’t take my word for it. Checkout the above videos, read the articles on Shinzen’s website, and listen to the following interviews. Notice how precise he is in articulating his ideas and viewpoints.

Three-part Shinzen Young interview on Buddhist Geeks

An Interview with Shinzen Young on Mindfulness Meditation

Shinzen Young Interviews with Stephanie Nash

I’ve been dabbling with Buddhist practice for more than 15 years now. I’ve tried to get a taste of different Buddhist traditions (Zen, Tibetan, Theravada). I’m realistic and pragmatic when it comes to spirituality. I don’t like to be confined within a religion or cult-like spiritual circles. I don’t like following gurus. I’m very picky with a teacher. But as the old Zen saying goes, “When the student is ready, the Master appears.” Shinzen Young is my kind of kick ass dharma teacher. I take this as a sign that I’m ready to get wet and go deep into the heart of the dharma.

UPDATE 05/31/2009: The more I get to know Shinzen and become familiar with his teaching approach the more I am convinced that I’ve finally found my main dharma teacher.

Shinzen really lives up to his name: Shin (Truth) + Zen (Goodness) = Beautiful activity of compassionate and kick ass teaching.

And most of all I find his humility very disarming. He’s the teacher I’d been looking for all along. Here’s another video that proves my point.

For more Shinzen videos keep checking this Youtube channel ~

Comments (9)

  1. Janine wrote::

    I downloaded Shinzen’s Science of Enlightenment from and put it on my iPod. I return to this 17 1/2 hr. teaching often. Thanks for these links. Can’t wait to check them out.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 9:08 pm #
  2. c4chaos wrote::


    i just started listening to “Science of Enlightenment”. i ripped the 14 CDs and put them on my iPhone. fascinating lecture and meditation instructions. Shinzen’s knowledge of the dharma is both broad and deep. the best dharma teacher i’ve encountered so far 🙂


    Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm #
  3. Har-Prakash Khalsa wrote::

    Hi there,

    I’m including you in this request because of your interest in Shinzen’s teachings.

    Shinzen and I will be shooting some video in a question and answer
    format at Mt. Carmel for YouTube this month that is meant to
    complement his dharma talks.

    I would like suggestions for questions to ask. I’m currently thinking
    that it be centered around a) basic or introductory orientation to
    meditation practice in general and anything specific to what Shinzen
    teaches, b) intermediate or deepening practice skill-set and
    understanding of the path, and c) anything from long-time/advanced
    practitioners, although we may not call it that in the videos.
    Any question that seems very helpful/important/vital is good.

    There’s no guarantees that we’ll include your question, but Shinzen
    and/or I will go through all of them and choose what we have room for,
    according to how it seems best to prioritize/organize them.

    So… What kinds of important questions do you/did you have at each
    one of these stages that was/would be helpful to you and others
    visiting cyberspace?

    Thanks for considering participating in this venture and thanks in
    advance for any questions sent this way. Feel free to forward this on to others to whom it might be of interest. You can send any replies to

    Blessings, Har-Prakash.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 7:03 pm #
  4. c4chaos wrote::


    thanks for the opportunity. i will email you my questions.

    btw, thanks also for the Shinzen videos posted on Youtube –


    Sunday, April 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm #
  5. Charlie wrote::

    I’m just finding out about Shinzen Young; it’s encouraging to read your post here, especially because I share your pickiness about teachers. To me, his “Twin Peaks” of East + West is pretty irrestistable. Thanks!

    Friday, September 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm #
  6. Adrian wrote::

    ~c4: Thanks for your posts on these topics. I’ve linked to your blog in this post about Shinzen. Cheers.

    Monday, December 7, 2009 at 9:49 am #
  7. Pierre wrote::

    Articulate is the key reason why I consider him as the best teacher around. His elocution, never equaled, is what is so endearing to me. His difficulty at grasping maths ( my case) in his early years have also made me find another reason to admire how he came to master it.It served him greatly to organize his theories and the tools to achieve mastery at meditating . His knowledge of Latin,Chinese,Japanese….etc…In his early years it was the geeky appearance and intellect that made me close to him. Now, in his latest YouTube offerings it’s the maturity of an old sage in full possession of the infinite ramifications of his brains which attracts me.When I started meditation with other teachers who were a bit stern I found his encouragement to experience pleasure in meditation very helpful. But why should I repeat all the reasons you listed so perfectly? I do subscribe to each and everyone of them. If I had lived in California I might have succumbed to his charm as Ram Dass with his guru. That would have embarrassed him, my wife…and myself. When talking about him to friends I behave like a teenage groupie and I am 67 and supposed to be a Cartesian Frenchman. Pierre

    Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 11:01 pm #
  8. c4chaos wrote::


    thanks for your comment. i’m glad that i’m not the only one who’s geeking out with Shinzen’s style of teaching 🙂


    Tuesday, February 2, 2010 at 12:21 am #
  9. Heather wrote::

    I really speculate how come you named this particular blog, “Shinzen Young is My Kind of Kick Ass Dharma Teacher!

    <~C4Chaos”. In any event . I personally admired the article!Regards-Craig

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

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