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Josh Bartok, Senior Dharma Teacher*

Josh was ordained in July of 2006 by James Ishmael Ford as a Soto Zen priest in the Boundless Way Zen school and served as Shuso in spring of 2010. He became James Ford Roshi’s first formal student in the Boston area, and in 2005, James asked him to start the Boston sangha. Josh first encountered Zen practice in 1991 while studying Cognitive Science at Vassar College. In 1992, he became a student of Roshi John Daido Loori at Zen Mountain Monastery. After college he was a monastic practitioner at Zen Mountain Monastery for a year and a half. In 2000, he left Loori’s Mountains and Rivers Order, and spent some time studying with Jan Chozen Bays Roshi in Oregon. Together with Rod Meade Sperry he founded Spring Hill Zen in Somerville/Medford. Shortly after founding Spring Hill they met James Ishmael Ford and Josh and several others helped found the Zen Community of Boston (ZCB).  ZCB later became Boundless Way Zen (BoWZ). Josh’s Dharma is also influenced by the Zen teaching of Ezra Bayda and Shin (Pure Land) Buddhism as taught by Shinran Shonin, and interpreted by Tai and Mark Unno. He is the co-author, with Ezra Bayda, of Saying Yes To Life (Even the Hard Parts).  authoring editor of Daily Wisdom, More Daily Wisdom, and Lama Zopa RInpoche’s How to Be Happy.  As senior editor at Wisdom Publications, Josh he has served as in-house editor for over a hundred and fifty other books.

Ken Walkama, Dharma Teacher

Ken Walkama has been practicing meditation for over 20 years. He has been designated as the Practice Leader of the Wellspring ZenGroup and as a Dharma Teacher by the Teachers’ Council ofBoundless Way Zen. Ken works as a crisis worker.


Reverend James Ishmael Ford Roshi is head teacher of the Boundless Way Zen school. James has been a student of Zen for nearly forty years. He was ordained unsui and received Dharma transmission from the late Houn Jiyu Kennett Roshi, completed koan study within the Harada/Yasutani tradition and received Inka shomei from John Tarrant Roshi. In 2004 he participated in the first Dharma Heritage ceremony of the forming Soto Zen Buddhist Association in North America. This event, designed to be the equivalent of the Japanese Soto Zuisse ceremony, was a public acknowledgment of James as a senior member of the North American Zen community. James is also a Unitarian Universalist minister, currently serving as senior minister of the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI. His undergraduate degree is in Psychology. He has also earned an MDiv and an MA in the Philosophy of Religion. James is an adjunct teacher with the Pacific Zen Institute, and a member of the American Zen Teachers Association. James is the author of two books: In This Very Moment: A Simple Guide to Zen Buddhism and Zen Master WHO? A Guide to People and Stories of Zen. He is the resident teacher at the Benevolent Street Sangha in Providence.

Melissa Myozen Blacker Sensei is a Boundless Way Zen priest and Dharma successor to James Ford Roshi. She is also currently Co-Director of Professional Training at the Center for Mindfulness in the UMass Medical School, and one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester.

David Dayan Rynick Sensei is a lay Zen teacher, a Dharma heir to George Bomun Bowman who was sanctioned as a teacher by Zen Master Seung Sahn. Zen Master Bowman has also continued his training for many years with the Rinzai priest Joshu Sasaki Roshi. David is currently a life and leadership coach, and one of the resident teachers at the Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester.

* In the Boundless Way Zen school, the title of Senior Dharma Teacher does not connote having yet received Dharma transmission. It is a title conferred by Boundless Way Zen’s guiding teachers and authorizes one to give private interviews (dokusan) and do work with students beginning koan introspection.