John was born and raised in Fort Worth Texas. He went to Vassar College in Pougkeepsie New York where he graduated in 1995 with a degree in film. During his freshman year at Vassar he became interested in Buddhism and meditation after visiting a nearby Zen Monastery called Zen Mountain Monastery. He started going there regularly to meditate and to hear John Daido Loori, Roshi teach the Dharma. John maintained a daily mediation practice during and after college and in 1998 he became a Buddhist Monk with the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He trained at 2 of Thich Nhat Hanh’s monasteries, Plum Village and Deer Park Monastery, for 6 years.
In response to an inner calling he left the monastery in 2004 and spent 2 years traveling and practicing at different monasteries and Ashrams throughout the world. His path eventually led him to Tiruvannamalai in South India where he was with a Guru in the direct spiritual lineage of Ramana Maharishi for 3 years.
John graduated from The University of The West in May of 2015 with a Master of Divinity. He is currently a PhD student at the Claremont School of Theology and an adjunct professor at UWest. He is an active member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing. He is a co-founder of The Engaged Buddhist Alliance, a non-profit that teaches mindfulness and Buddhism to over 200 students in over eight state prisons in Southern California. John is a resident in training at The Clinebell Institute in Claremont CA where he offers spiritually integrated psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families. His therapeutic orientation is made up of elements from traditional Buddhist practice, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and Somatic Experiencing (he is not a licensed SE practitioner).
The meditation practice that he does and teaches includes awareness of breathing, resting in natural awareness, and investigating the source of awareness.