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I have a love for reading, writing, plant-based eating and maintaining a robust spiritual life. My mother instilled a deep thirst for reading in me at an early age. My favorite areas of reading include eastern philosophies & religions, spiritual biographies, classical rhetoric & oratory, Buddhism and Consciousness. My conscious spiritual odyssey began at age 13. It was driven by a deep curiosity about whether one could live without emotional or psychological pain. Ultimately, I found my “spiritual home” in Chan Buddhism.

Educationally, my background is in speech communication, rhetoric and philosophy. (B.A. Speech Communication: Rhetorical Studies concentration) My early thoughts were influenced by several western philosophical traditions. Among these influences: the ancient Greeks, Stoics and Existentialism. Though the West had captured my mind early on in life, my heart has always felt most at home with eastern traditions. Some of the eastern influences on my thinking include the writings of Yogananda, Vedanta philosophy, Miyomoto Musashi, Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu, Ven. Master Hsing Yun and the Buddha. I am a lay Buddhist disciple of an order founded upon the Chan Buddhist tradition. Dharma name given: Zhong Xing

I was introduced to meditation through martial arts training. Both still remain essential practices in my life. Nutritionally, I follow a 100% plant-based diet. (i.e. no animals or dairy products)  My reasons for this are primarily spiritual, for the health benefits and the environment. I do not use drugs or drink alcohol. I enjoy books and don’t own a TV. Early to bed…early to rise. Life is beautiful.

Sensei Derek | Buddhist, Author, Public Speaker