BoWZ Guiding Teachers

BoWZ Guiding Teachers

BoWZ Guiding Teachers
David, James, Josh, Melissa (L to R)

 James Ishmael Ford Roshi served as the first abbot 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 an adjunct teacher with the Pacific Zen Institute, and a member of the American Zen Teachers Association. James is the author of two books: Zen Master WHO? A Guide to People and Stories of Zen and If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life. He is also the coeditor, with Melissa Myozen Blacker, of The Book of Mu. James is the resident teacher at the Benevolent Street Sangha in Providence.

Melissa Myozen Blacker Roshi is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma heir to James Ford Roshi. She formerly served as Co-Director of Professional Training at the Center for Mindfulness in the UMass Medical School, and is now one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester. She's the coeditor, with James Ishmael Ford, of The Book of Mu. She currently serves as the Boundless Way Zen school abbot.

David Dae An Rynick Roshi is a Dharma heir to George Bomun Bowman who was sanctioned as a teacher by Zen Master Seung Sahn. Zen Master Bowman has also continued his training for many years with the Rinzai priest Joshu Sasaki Roshi. David is also an Soto Zen priest, having received ordination and Dharma Transmission in the Soto school from James Ford. David is a life and leadership coach, one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, and the abbot of that temple. David is the author of This Truth Never Fails: A Zen Memoir in Four Seasons.

Josh Jiun Bartok Roshi  is the abbot (head teacher and spiritual director) at the Greater Boston Zen Center. He is a Dharma heir of James Ishmael Ford Roshi in both of the roshi's lineages: the ordained Soto Zen lineage of Jiyu Kennett, and the koan introspection lineage of John Tarrant. He is the coauthor of Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts) and, as Senior Editor at Wisdom Publications, has edited over 150 books relating to all traditions of Buddhism. He was elected to the Guiding Teachers Council in August of 2012.