For over 50 years I have studied and taught, practiced and instructed in variety of Buddhist traditions . While studying and teaching Eastern religion in university, I began a formal dharma practice in 1974. I have been a member of several Zen Buddhist centres, and it was here in 1994 I first took refuge, receiving the Dharma-name, Innen. While working in Sri Lanka in 1980 with the Buddhist development group, Sarvodaya Shramadana, and I had a short period in a Theravada monastery. Prior to meeting Tendai-shu, I did training with Pure Land teacher, Dharmavidya David Brazier of the Amida Trust. I now act as both the Sangha Priest/Leader of the Red Maple Tendai Sangha (RMTS) and National Director of Tendai Canada.
In 2002, I founded the first permanent rural Buddhist practice environment in the Upper Ottawa Valley, the first in the Eastern Ontario region. Initially, this was a deliberately nonsectarian group, but, as the sangha grew, I recognized the need for a formal connection to a respected Dharma community. This began our and my association with Tendai-shu, establishing RMTS as the first and only Tendai Sangha in Canada. In 2008, I renewed my refuge-taking and became a student of Tendai priest, Ven. Monshin Naamon. I began formal ordination training and, in 2010, was appointed as a Tendai priest or doshu.
I have a B.A., Hon. in Comparative Religion (Carleton), an MSW (Carleton) with my thesis on the use of meditation in social work groups, and a Certificate of Buddhist Psychology (Amida Trust). I have combined my practice and learning with writing and speaking. I published general and scholarly articles on dharma topics and presented at international conferences. I was the Buddhist voice in the Ottawa Citizen’s Ask the Religion Experts column for five years.
My association with Tendai has strengthened my own practice and re-affirmed my confidence in Chih-i’s principle of “10,000 forms of practice”. This has guided me to dedicate my learning and practice to exploring walking-based practices. In 2012 I published Walk Like A Mountain: The Handbook of Buddhist Walking Practice, the first comprehensive book on the subject. That, in turn, inspired me in 2016 to establish The Padakun Centre for Contemplative Walking.
As I move towards retirement from active leadership of Red Maple, I am contributing to the training of our sangha assistant, Jiho Duff, to assume leadership. I will concentrate on three main projects moving into the future:
- establishing RMTS in a nearby town under Jiho’s leadership,
- publishing a collection of the past decade of my dharma talks, and
- building the Padakun Centre, including a new book on contemplative walking and, personally, completing the Camino Portuguese.