Philosophically and intellectually, Alex shares his profound attraction to the concept of impermanence. Initially, he grappled with a sense of grasping, recognizing that everything exists only momentarily. However, a deeper understanding unfolded as he embraced the constant arising and interdependence inherent in impermanence. These concepts offered Alex a unique lens through which to view life, allowing him to perceive the unfolding of experiences, communities, and work life with a sense of universality and personal recognition.

Alex found a captivating dance in this perspective, appreciating the mystery and the simultaneous existence of a universal aspect beyond his control and his personal experiences within. Growing up in a Chinese family in the West, these ideas were unfamiliar to him, and their introduction struck a chord.

In addition to impermanence, Alex resonated deeply with the concept of emptiness. These philosophical pillars—emptiness, impermanence, and interdependence—opened new doors for Alex. Engaging in discussions with Dharma teachers and Sangha, he felt exposed to a branch of existence he hadn’t known was possible. Alex experienced a mix of relief, confusion, and excitement as these concepts challenged and expanded his understanding of reality.


Christopher, in exploring his spiritual journey, found a profound connection to Buddhism, particularly drawn to its unique perspective on interdependence. Influenced by his experiences with deep ecology, he embraced the concept that everything is ultimately interconnected and codependent in the web of life. This realization deepened as he delved into the Buddha’s awakening experience, where he envisioned the multiplicity of past lives, transcending human existence to empathize with all forms of life.

In contrast to dualistic traditions, Christopher appreciated Buddhism’s emphasis on oneness, a perspective he felt was lacking in other spiritual paths. The matter-of-fact nature of Buddhism, devoid of the concept of sin, resonated with him. Instead of being seen as wicked or disobedient, one’s actions were framed as a result of ignorance—an approach that offered a different way of understanding and addressing personal mistakes.

Impermanence and interdependence emerged as key factors that deeply moved Christopher. While uncertain about what happens after death, he believed that embodying impermanence could enhance the quality of the present life. The acceptance of suffering as an inherent aspect of life, rather than a virtue, also struck a chord with him. He viewed the Buddha’s teachings as stating the obvious, urging individuals to move beyond avoiding or condemning suffering and instead engage with it as a means of growth and understanding.

Christopher found solace in the inclusivity of the Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship, where individuals with diverse beliefs, from God-believers to atheists, could practice together. The common thread in the community was a shared desire to follow the teachings of the Buddha, seeking transformation and liberation in their own unique ways. The fellowship, for Christopher, became a space where personal beliefs were respected, and the focus remained on the universal principles of Buddhist teachings.


Bruce discusses the infinite drama of Buddhism, emphasizing the personal journey each individual takes. Exploring spiritual leanings involves confronting preconceived notions and preferences. He mentions the openness of beginner’s mind, as described by Suzuki Roshi, where one is receptive to various teachings.

Comparing Zen and Tibetan practices, Bruce notes personal attractions beyond Dharma, such as a preference for Japanese aesthetics and the accessibility of Zen literature. Gempo Roshi, an American teacher from Long Beach, played a significant role in Bruce’s journey. Their mutual openness and honesty facilitated understanding, especially considering the challenges of translating Zen concepts into English.

Bruce reflects on the difficulty of grasping Zen lingo and concepts, appreciating how Gempo Roshi and other Western practitioners helped bridge these gaps. He shares the evolution of his understanding, from initially finding haiku and Zen imagery challenging to eventually appreciating their beauty and depth.

The journey becomes a process of becoming more familiar and comfortable with Zen, guided by Gempo Roshi and other Western teachers who emphasized bringing the teachings back to life. Bruce’s exploration led him to a personal connection with Zen, shaped by both literature and the guidance of those who helped him navigate its complexities.


Mara passionately reflects on the power of Dharma and its universal appeal. To her, Dharma is not only profound but also remarkably attractive, describing it as the “sexiest thing” that exists. She emphasizes the allure of authenticity, comparing it to the genuine experiences in life, like a mother’s baked ziti or a classical violinist in a great hall. Mara believes that true authenticity, emanating from the soft and loving core of one’s being, creates a palpable shift in the air.

Drawing parallels with the precision and dedication seen in performances like Pink’s, Mara contends that Dharma is the key to attuning individuals to a level of authenticity that allows them to connect with themselves and others. In the midst of potential skepticism, particularly in the Bible Belt where Buddhism may be unfamiliar, Mara shares her personal experience of attending a church with Buddhist-informed priests who incorporate love and kindness meditations. She underscores that Dharma and mindfulness need not be confined to a specific religion but can be embraced as a practice that transcends religious boundaries.

Mara reminds others of the Buddha’s teachings, clarifying that he didn’t claim to be a god but rather a spiritually awakened being. The essence of Dharma, as Mara sees it, lies in the pursuit of decreasing personal suffering, enabling individuals to be fully present in their lives. She believes that this authenticity, whether manifesting as a slight improvement in a content life or a significant reduction in a challenging one, resonates and vibrates with a profound truth.