You hear it all the time: enlightenment, awakening, expansion, liberation. Yadda yadda yadda. But…what is it really? Is it even possible to describe? This week, I sit with acclaimed Zen teacher and poet Henry Shukman to try and get the actual Zen take on things. We dig into his own spiritual journey, how to meditate in the Zen way, and how chasing after something can sometimes prevent you from ever getting it.

Henry Shukman is a mindfulness teacher and the spiritual Director of Mountain Cloud Zen Center. He has been trained by Zen several teachers, particularly the roshis Joan Rieck, John Gaynor, Ruben Habito, and Yamada Ryoun Roshi, as well as by teachers and mentors in other traditions. Henry has an MA from Cambridge and an MLitt from St. Andrews, and has written several award-winning books of poetry and fiction.

He currently guides a wide range of students from all walks of life. He received dharma transmission (inka shomei) from Yamada Ryoun Roshi, the abbot of Sanbo Zen, and is a Zen Master of the Sanbo Zen lineage of Kamakura, Japan.

Henry’s struggles as a youth, combined with a spontaneous awakening experience at age 19, paved the way for Henry to develop a well-rounded approach to spirituality and meditation, under the guidance of his teachers – one that includes both compassionate concern for the sufferings of the world and the great liberative power of awakening as its foundations.

Connect with Henry

-Website; Mountain Cloud Zen Center:

-Website; Original Love Meditation:

-Book; One Blade Of Grass:


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