Interestingly, soon after leaving Taego, which I believed to be a 1,600 year old order, I discovered that it was actually formed quite recently as a result of a mass exodus of monks from the Chogye Order in 1970.
The unexpected turn of events last year led me to the Five Mountain Zen Order with whom I was able to ordain just four months ago. Five Mountain is a thoroughly modern and truly authentic Order based in the same Korean Zen lineage of Zen Master Seung Sahn. It’s a young and growing “Monastery Without Walls” whose main focus is helping people regardless of their financial means or geographic location. Founded by my teacher and friend Ven. Paul Yuánzhì Lynch, it recognizes and respects tradition while being dedicated to offering people teachings and opportunities to practice in ways that make sense in our current culture and time. Paul is building an international sangha that is inclusive, dynamic, and far-reaching, and together we are trailblazing a path which other contemporary Western Buddhist lineages would be wise to follow.
What a difference a year can make.