- An in-studio conversation with Tim Burkett, Ph.D., author of the recently published volume Nothing Holy About It – The Zen of Being Just Who You Are, and Wanda Isle, editor of Nothing Holy About It. The concise summary of Zen teaching Burkett presents in this book is expressed precisely in terms of what he found right in front of him: beginning with the delightful non-holiness he experienced in the presence of his original teacher, Shunyru Suzuki, and continuing through a lifetime of further teaching experiences.
Tim Burkett, began practicing in spring 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi while attending Stanford University. At Suzuki's urging, Tim began a weekly sitting group on the San Francisco peninsula later that year, which Suzuki regularly attended. As this group grew in size, it was moved to the converted garage of a sangha member. Suzuki's talks to that group were later edited and published as Zen Mind Beginner's Mind, which has become a classic text and the gateway for many to enter Zen practice. After completing his BA at Stanford, Tim attended the maiden practice period at San Francisco Zen Center's Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1967 with his wife Linda, whom he met at San Francisco Zen Center. In 1970, Tim and Linda moved to Minnesota, where Tim continued his sitting practice. He was an early member of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center (MZMC) and was ordained by Dainin Katagiri Roshi in 1978. Tim was president of MZMC from 1978 to 1983, became a dharma heir of Karen Sunna in the Katagiri lineage in 2000, and succeeded Karen as abbot in 2002. He is also a licensed Ph.D. psychologist and director of an agency that supports people with mental illness. He and Linda have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Wanda Isle's interest in Eastern thought and practices began in the early 1980's. She started a regular meditation practice at MZMC in 2005 and was ordained in 2009. She received Dharma Transmission in 2015. Wanda was drawn to the quiet, inward-looking nature of Zen. Her focus as a Zen teacher is helping people cultivate the capacity to express themselves completely by seeing through emotional barriers and opening up to the natural compassion and original freedom innate in each of us.
Besides being the editor of Nothing Holy About It, Wanda is co-author of the upcoming book, Creating Awesome: Radiant Health as a Spiritual Practice, which focuses on mind/body healing. She is also currently editing a second book on the mystical teachings of Tim Burkett.
- Minnesota Zen Meditation Center website: mnzencenter.org