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.
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.
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 ~ http://www.youtube.com/user/expandcontract
[Thanks! I could use some coffee :) ]