Taiken, George Pearson
Greetings, my name is George and on November 7th, 2020, I took Juki vows with the Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen order. I was given a Dharma name Taiken by Roshi Vimala Muni, John Nemick. The name means “Peaceful Sword” which I find quite fitting to meet the times.
I’ve been practicing meditation on and off since I was a child, and learned to do it formally around the age of twelve by a dear and life long friend. I could not have been more fortunate to have parents who not only supported my practice but did so actively, allowing it to flourish.
When I went to college, I found myself at a very devoutly Christian university. Being surrounded by people who openly and passionately displayed their spiritual practice made me take a deep and sincere look at my own path. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, gave me a copy of The Way of Zen, by Alan Watts. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this book changed the way I looked at and perceived reality, and I haven’t looked back since.
When I moved to Green Bay, my wife once again pointed me in the right direction and it was once again a very zen suggestion. After long discussions about how spiritually lonely I felt, she found the Green Tara Sangha, now the Green Bay Zen Center. I found a delightful group of Zen practitioners and I finally felt like I was home. I went on every retreat I could, and eventually I found myself in the presence of a Zen Master. I’ve read countless tales describing the intensity of a Zen Master, but nothing could have prepared me for Jun Po Dennis Kelly. I had the honor and privilege of doing Mondo Zen Koans with Jun Po, which I consider to be one of my most special and foundationally life changing spiritual experiences. It is second only to the moment I learned my wife’s name.