Kevin sits down with Henry Shukman to discuss the misconceptions surrounding Zen, especially in Western cultures, and the true meaning of Zen as a path of existential training. Kevin and Henry explore the different aspects of Zen training, including the deeper study of self and experience. The conversation also covers the impact of awakening or enlightenment, the significance of Koans in Zen practice, and the compatibility of Zen with religious traditions.


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Guest Bio and Links:

Henry Shukman is an authorized Zen Master in the Sanbo Zen lineage and is the Spiritual Director of Mountain Cloud Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to teaching meditation, Henry is an award-winning author and poet. His struggles and traumatic experiences as a youth, combined with a spontaneous awakening experience at 19, paved the way for Henry to develop a well-rounded approach to healing and awakening through meditation. 

Listeners can connect with Henry at his website, and on IG @henryshukman  


Blue Cliff Record

The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans

The Way App 

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Mountain Cloud Zen Center 

Show Notes: 

[0:00] Introduction

[1:00] Write, plan, share with AI at your side

[3:00] DeleteMe: Make Your Personal Data Yours Again

[4:30] Kevin introduces guest, Henry Shukman to the listeners 

[8:00] Henry discusses the commercialization of Zen 

[10:30] Misconceptions and the true essence of Zen

[13:30] Question: When and where did koans originate?  

[20:30] “Whether it's a discovery or the recovery of something long forgotten, in a way it doesn't matter, because it hasn't been present to me. And when it suddenly is. It changes everything. It really changes everything.”

[23:30] Koans and how they apply to Zen practice 

[28:00] Role of meditation in Zen

[32:00] Shop L.M.N.T for your electrolyte needs  

[33:00] Question: What are the common curiosities that people approach you with and what can Zen solve for them?

[33:30] “Zen is for revelation. It's sort of exposing us to more dimensions of what life actually is.”

[36:50] Henry shares his personal journey into Zen

[49:30] The importance of checks and balances when teaching Zen practices 

[50:15] Question: What do you tell someone in hospice laying there and says: ‘Henry, Where am I going? Or I don’t want to die.’  

[58:00] Question: How many koans did you have to pass to become a fully accredited Zen master? 

[1:00:00] “In a certain way, Zen is absolutely not a religion. It's about changing our hearts and minds.”

[1:02:50] Question: Do you think prayer can be a form of meditation?

[1:06:00] Therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, plant medicine, and meditation to achieve awakening

[1:07:00] Henry’s experience with 5-MeO-DMT

[1:10:30] Reflections on the transformative power of Zen

[1:18:30] Strategies to make a long-lasting practice with meditation 

[1:21:00] The Way app offers guided meditation training

[1:30:00] Download the Way app: 

[1:36:50] Perspectives on drinking alcohol

[1:42:00] Questioning ancient Zen feats of power

[1:47:00] Extreme self-sacrifice and equanimity

[1:53:35] “The ways that we think we'll find happiness, we might have it back to front. Where we think by getting what we want and pushing away what we don't want. That's the path to happiness. And it's very natural and very understandable, but it could be that there's another way that's actually deeper, which requires us to let go of that. And then we find that we're part of something already, which gives us basically an infinite amount of happiness, an infinite happiness.”

[1:56:00] Closing thoughts 

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