When were you first exposed to dharma?

I was raised Roman Catholic and my grandfather was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus. So, I was very intrenched with a fixed Idea of what God was and was not. As well as a lot of dogma and beliefs that I wasn’t even sure were real, that the people telling me weren’t eve sure were real either. I always suffered because I was trying to force myself to believe in a God or higher power. I was first exposed to the Dharma at the Zen Center of Las Vegas. A friend of mine from Oregon, who was a Soto practitioner suggested I find a Zen center, since Zen primary focuses on meditation. I was having a lot of issues with my mental health at the time, and suffered from an undiagnosed panic disorder. I was genuinely seeking a way out of this immense suffering it was causing me. I went to practice with hem a few times prior to ever hearing a Dharma talk. 

So, it was just 100% the practice I was experiencing, and in hindsight was exactly Zen Buddhism’s approach. Meaning Zen relies less on answers and more in questions and experiencing the Dharma by the individual practice first hand and not relying on any Dogma or Beliefs handed down by others. Much like the way the Buddha was awakened. So the first time I heard Zen Master Ji Haeng give a Dharma talk I was blown away. I had never heard anyone talk about the mind and the science of the mind in that way. It was just simply so powerful that I didn’t have to believe in anything or buy into any dogma. All I had to do was sit and meditate and look within. This was very contrary to the way we are brought up in the west, believing that we are lacking something and that only god can fill this hole inside of us and the only way for that to happen is to Believe with blind faith. Zen woke me up to the understanding that I am already 100% complete with no cultivation necessary and that I lack nothing that isn’t already inside of me. Only my thinking is causing this separation.

How has the path manifest in your daily experience?

Zen has changed my view on every single thing I do throughout my day.  Zen has helped me to be better at my profession, Bonsai Art, relationships and most  importantly, the relationship with myself. It allows me to see more clearly throughout my  day the reasons for my decisions and the reason for life’s little vexations and dramas.  Simply put, all of the daily occurrences good or bad is a chance to practice my gentle  awareness that is a result of my daily sitting on the cushion and practicing. Only in this  way, looking at my own habit energy can I be more helpful to others and be able to listen to  others suffering. The most important thing we can do to help others suffering is just to  listen 100%, we don’t even have to have answers for them. Only listening.  


Josh is an Bonsai artist and
his artistry grows with his practice.

If you explore other lineages within buddhism, how did you come to decide on which lineage was right for you?

So, it’s very important to realize regardless of linage it’s the same Buddha. I was  drawn to Zen because it primarily focuses less on the written teachings, and more on the  practice of Meditation. Having said that, I could sit with anyone in any linage and have no  problem. I could even sit in a Christian or any other denomination church and it would be  no problem!  

The reason I joined the Zen Center of Las Vegas was because of my teacher, Zen  Master Ji Haeng. He could have been teaching in any lineage and I wouldn’t have cared,  because he is who I chose to follow. In Zen a teacher is a guide that helps you navigate the  introspection into self, the reason Zen is so unique is because your teacher is doing it with  you at the same time. Teachers are normal people just like us, and its important to  remember that.  

What are some of your practices/rituals that you do to support your spiritual development (meditation/prayers and etc)

I try and sit an hour each day of Zazen. (Seated Meditation) And I often chant the  Great Dharani throughout the day.  

I also attend the Zen center weekly and practice with other people. Sangha is the  most important part of any practice. Together action is the fuel that helps us when times  are hard, and we share with each other when times are good.  

Which sangha do you normally attend?

I attend the Zen Center of Las Vegas; my role is a man of no rank. 



Zen woke me up to the understanding
that I am already 100% complete
with no cultivation necessary

What is your primarily profession?

 My primary profession is a Real Estate agent. I do however work very hard  at being a Bonsai Artist, and my garden has around 100 trees currently. I would say Zen  has helped me to be more focused on the discipline of Bonsai cultivation. Bonsai shouldn’t be reduced to being a hobby, it’s much more than that, it’s a Vocation and or Discipline. Anyone that has practiced hard at Bonsai cultivation will understand this very well.  

What teachings/practices have had the greatest impact on your life?


That’s the most important thing that has transformed my life and everything I do, the breath. It’s the mechanism that centers me and its practice is the most important thing I do in my day.

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