In this episode I host a dialogue between Stephen Snyder, meditation teacher and author of several books including ‘Buddha’s Heart’ and his new release ‘Trust in Awakening’; and Mark Mininberg, Zen master, dharma heir to Bernie Glassman, and founder CEO of Environ Energy.

Stephen and Mark recount how they met and why they decided to become each others’ teacher, Stephen teaching Mark heart meditation methods while Mark completed Stephen’s Zen koan training.

Stephen and Mark pull back the curtain to give us an intimate view into their mutual teaching relationship, including accounts of mind-to-mind transmission, powerful spiritual epiphanies, and a blossoming friendship.

Stephen also announces his new book ‘Trust In Awakening’, a reworking with commentary of the classic Tang Dynasty Chan poem of awakening the XinXin Ming, and offers a teaching and commentary on two of the stanzas from the book.

Stephen and Mark also discuss their rigorous new program for training the next generation of teachers, their plans to open a residential retreat centre, and reflect on the dharma politics of traditionalists vs innovators.

Video version:

Also available on Youtube, iTunes, & Spotify – search ‘Guru Viking Podcast’.

Topics include:

00:00 - Intro

01:13 - First meeting

03:35 - Becoming each others’ teacher

06:47 - Adding heart to Zen

12:54 - Zen master learning heart practices from Stephen

17:09 - A powerful heart experience

20:50 - Receiving Dharma transmission in the Glassman-Roshi lineage

24:27 - Deepening koan practice

26:18 - Meeting the minds of the ancient masters

29:04 - Trust in Awakening

33:48 - Stephen and Mark teach about awakening from the 5th stanza of Stephen’s reworking of the Xinxin Ming

39:59 - How to practice with Xinxin Ming stanzas

43:40 - Stephen and Mark teach from the 8th stanza

50:17 - What is the Zen transmission process?

55:09 - Demonstration and the Mu koan

01:00:21 - Buddha’s Heart Meditation Centre

01:07:44 - Training the next generation of teachers

01:08:37 - Qualities needed in a trainee teacher

01:15:29 - The program for trainee teachers

01:18:45 - Respect for the Zen tradition

01:24:00 - Stephen’s in-person retreats

01:25:26 - Dharma politics and traditionalists vs innovators

Previous episode with Stephen Snyder:


To find our more about Stephen Snyder, visit:


To find out more about Mark Mininberg, visit;


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Music ‘Deva Dasi’ by Steve James

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