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Buddhadharma : Spri 2013
SPRING 2 0 1 3 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 83 We must carry an iron yoke with no hole, It is not a slight matter, the curse is passed on to our descendants; If you want to support the gate and sustain the house, You must climb a mountain of swords with bare feet. WHEN ASKED ABOUT THE CHALLENGES of teaching Zen, Josh Munen Bartok Sensei, one of the four guiding teachers of Boundless Way Zen (BWZ), recalls these rather severe lines from The Gateless Gate, a thirteenth-century koan col- lection compiled by the Chinese master Wumen. The teacher’s role has been a subject of partic- ular interest for Boundless Way, a hybrid Zen school led by four teachers trained in different lineages. Taking seriously Wumen’s admonition, the leaders of Boundless Way decided that Zen teaching is a burden best shared and sought new means of carrying the iron yoke. Founded in 2002, Boundless Way is one of the fastest-growing Zen communities in the U.S., with more than two hundred regularly attend- ing members and nine affiliated sanghas, mostly in New England. The Boundless Way Temple, founded in 2009 in Worcester, Massachusetts, hosts the sangha’s sesshin, held several times a year, as well as daily practice. Last year BWZ also opened a new dedicated practice space in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boundless Way stu- dents generally train in both of the central Zen practices: shikantaza, or “just sitting,” and koan introspection. This blend is one of the marks of the group, whose guiding teachers are each lin- eage holders in more than one Zen tradition, representing between them Soto Zen, Korean Linji, and the Harada-Yasutani school, which combines elements of Soto and Rinzai. Profile by Andrew Merz BOUNDLESS WAY ZEN (Top) Boundless Way Temple,Worcester, Massachusetts (Inset, left to right) BWZ teachers Melissa Myozen Blacker, James Ishmael Ford, David Dae An Rynick, and Josh Munen Bartok PHOTOS (TOP) KEVIN OSBORN (INSET) FAYE MCKENNA