History and Lineage

History and Lineage

David Dae An Rynick, Roshi and Melissa Myozen Blacker, Roshi guide the Worcester Zen Community, and, together with James Myoun Ford, Roshi and Josh Munen Bartok, Roshi are the guiding teachers of Boundless Way Zen. In 1992 David, Melissa and friends who wanted to practice meditation together created the Sunday Night Sitting Group at the Berwick Street location, and the following year David and Melissa established a Zen Meditation group at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester. A few years later, the two groups merged to become the Worcester Zen Group, now known as the Worcester Zen Community. Melissa and David established the Boundless Way Temple (Mugendo-ji) at 1030 Pleasant Street, Worcester in 2009.

David and Melissa both began their formal Zen studies in 1981 with Richard Clarke, a former student of Philip Kapleau Roshi of the Rochester Zen Center. Kapleau Roshi was a student of Yasutani Hakuun Roshi of the Sanbo Kyodan (Three Treasures) lineage, a Soto line which incorporates Rinzai elements into its teaching style.

David has received full Dharma Transmission from Zen Master George Bo Mun Bowman, with whom he began studying in 1991. George is the founder of Single Flower Sangha, and has received full Dharma Transmission from the Korean Rinzai Master Seung Sahn Soen-sa, the founder of the Kwan Um School of Zen. Since 1977 George has been studying with the Japanese Rinzai master, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the Founder and Abbot of Rinzai-Ji.

Melissa is an ordained Soto Zen Priest, and has received full Dharma Transmission (Inka Shomei) from James Ishmael Ford Roshi, the founder of Boundless Way Zen, with whom she has studied since 2001. James was ordained as a Soto Zen priest by and received Dharma Transmission from Jiyu Kennett Roshi. Kennett Roshi was the founder of Shasta Abbey and the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. James later studied and received Inka Shomei from John Tarrant Roshi, founder of the Pacific Zen Institute. John is a Dharma heir of Robert Aitken Roshi, the founder of the Diamond Sangha. Aitken Roshi is a Dharma heir of Koun Yamada Roshi of the Sanbo Kyodan lineage.

Because of their lineage histories and Zen training, Melissa and David combine traditional Soto and Rinzai traditions in innovative ways. Both Melissa and David teach basic Zen practices such as breath awareness, various mindfulness practices, inquiry into the moment and Shikantaza or choiceless awareness. Melissa also teaches koan practice in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition. Both teachers are dedicated to helping every student find a practice that fits their unique personality and deepest intention for awakening.