John trained for thirteen years as a Zen Buddhist priest in the monastic and temple setting of the San Francisco Zen Center. After leaving the zen community to practice as an ordinary citizen, he received a degree in International Political Economy from Harvard University, developed the Investment Advisory and Securities Division of a regional financial planning firm in the Boston area, married the artist Jesa Damora, participated in a sailboat race around the world in 2000-2001, and became a professional sailboat captain.
In 2004, John returned to community Dharma practice, was formally recognized as a Zen Buddhist Roshi by Zoketsu Norman Fischer, and established One Heart Zen, a Zen Buddhist based practice and educational organization, in order to share the Zen attitude, spirit, and practice with the world.
John has been a College Chaplain and Buddhist Community Coordinator for the last ten years. At Amherst he leads weekly meditations and has developed a Mindfulness Meditation program based in the 2600-year-old Buddhist practice tradition which introduces students to the basics of meditation and mindfulness practices, and helps to integrate these practices into their daily lives.