“Vast is the robe of liberation, a formless field of benefaction; I wear the Tathagata’s teaching, saving all sentient beings.”- Dogen Zenji
Ordained Priest: BUKKAI “Buddha Ocean” HAKU “Empty” TED HALL
Who am I? Ah, but who is asking? Who indeed…
This inquiry is best answered by a poetic expression of what is the closest that can be described by words… by an excerpt from one of my favorite poems from the Sufi poet Master Rumi:
“…I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next… My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. …only this breath breathing human being.”
What I do for work is complicated and multifaceted, yet is infinitely rewarding and in alignment with the Noble Eight Fold Path way of Samma-Ajiva or “proper/right livelihood”. I am a Commander (O-5) in the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) assigned to the Indian Health Service serving a Native American Tribe in central Wisconsin. I am a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) and a board certified psychiatric pharmacist (BCPP) with diagnostic and prescriptive authority for mental health and substance use disorders. My main clinical practice is helping those suffering with addiction to find their path of health, well-being, and happiness.
What I enjoy apart from work is to explore Devil’s Lake State Park (more appropriately Spirit Lake named by the indigenous Native American’s from this area). This is one of my favorite places on earth and where I spend a lot of time during most of the year kayaking, hiking, or simply sitting on the shoreline watching everything in this transcendent and wondrous place. Simply being present in any moment in any place is all that there is…nothing more, nothing less…exquisitely perfect.
My journey to and into the Hollow Bones Zen Rinzai tradition began in Madison, Wisconsin, when the Twining Vines Sangha manifested. After being a regular student for almost 2 years, I decided to take the deep dive and attend my first 8-day silent Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Monastery in the Catskill Mountains of New York in June 2014. I was home…finally! Roshi Jun Po Dennis Kelly, Mondo Zen Abbot, conferred the Dhyana names Buk Kai (Buddha Ocean) during Jukai ceremony in September 2014 and Haku (Empty) during priest ordination (shukke-tokudo) in December 2015. Jun Po imparted to me that the healing waters of Buddha Ocean transcend beyond the medications dispensed… it is the transmission of Compassion, Wisdom, and Dharma Teachings.
“I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.”
Jukai Precepts “Stream Enterer”: KOKIA “Broad Ocean” BEN KIMMEL