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Lions Roar : March 2019
Favorite meditation practice? Breathing in the body. Being in the body. Awareness. What dharma books do you recommend? Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer. Your favorite virtue? The one I have the most difficulty with—patience. Your chief characteristic? Equanimity, and I am working on it all the time. Your principal poison? Ego. The only one. Your idea of happiness? Freedom from ego. Being a vehicle of love and compassion for the universe. Your idea of misery? Being driven by ambition. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Briefly, I worked as a salesperson. That was enough. Name three of your heroes. Pema Chödrön, Joseph Goldstein, and Norman Fischer. The natural talent you’d most like to have? Singing. Your favorite author? Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. Your favorite musician or group? Bach. Your favorite current TV show? Doc Martin. What’s for dinner? Polenta and mixed baked vegetables. A motto that represents you? “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” —T. S . Eliot MEET A TEACHER Sensei Dorothy Dai-En Friedman I WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN in 1928. My parents were nonprac- ticing Jews in a neighborhood of practicing Jews. My mother had lost my older sister a few years before I was born. That was challenging. I started dancing seriously at seventeen and married at eighteen to get out of the house. My husband was gay, but it worked out for us both because I knew I had to devote myself to dance. I joined the Martha Graham Dance Company while I was in college at New York University. In my late twenties, I hurt my back and had to stop dancing professionally. With a physical re-education teacher, I learned about breathing and actually being in the body. It was a revelation to experience my breath and embodiment. This was wonderful preparation for my eventual immersion in Buddhist Vipassana practice with S. N. Goenka and at Insight Meditation Society with Joseph Goldstein. After establishing a Vipassana practice, I began my journey into Zen at the Ocean Zendo, located on Eastern Long Island, with Roshi Peter Muryo Matthiessen. I ordained and received dharma transmission as a Soto Zen teacher in the White Plum Asanga. During this time, I also received a master’s degree in Movement Education at Columbia University. I now serve as a Sensei at Ocean Zendo and am honored to teach alongside my two dharma heirs, Koshin Paley Ellison and Robert Chodo Campbell, in working at New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. ♦ LION’S ROAR | MARCH 2019 35 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE