Rev. Paul Dōch'ŏng Lynch 
Guiding Teacher, Five Mountain Order of Zen 

About the Author 

My interest is based in open dialogs within members of all of the spiritual traditions. My upbringing was founded within tolerance and exploration. My path which for a time was involved heavily in the area of Humanistic Psychology eventually landed in an extreme respect for Eastern Philosophy and the Religion of Chán Buddhism. Although I feel drawn to this path personally I do not regard it as some way the correct or ultimate path to self-discovery, it is merely the path that has seemed to make sense to me. There is a fundamental problem with our ability to communicate about Religious and Theological issues that somehow has not evolved at the same level that the scientific method has evolved with over the past few hundred years. I do not negate Science or Quantum Physics and accept their findings, within the same realm that I also accept my own understanding of the unfolding of my life within each moment that I breathe. Our lives are complex and yet simple in their unfolding if we understand that we already are complete. I believe that we can help bridge the lack of understanding through open discussion. Our only resolve in life is to become more loving.

Who are you? What is this? The essence of Zen is contained within these questions. I believe in the efficacy of the teaching lineage based upon Kānhuà Chán as set forth by Chán Master Dàhuì Zōnggăo, which found its place in Korean Sŏn through Sŏn Master Bojo Jinul and was transmitted out of Korea by Sŏn Master Seung Sahn. I also believe in utilizing technology as a tool in the development of the Dharma in the West, many of my students live in remote locations whom I meet with via video conference weekly. We come together for several retreats a year where we get extended time to practice together. I also lead a discussion group in Second Life on a weekly basis where I discuss student’s questions about life, practice and direction.

I have been practicing Buddhist meditation for more than twenty-five years, and with the sanction and encouragement of Zen Master Seung Sahn, founded the Huntington Beach Zen Center on August 14, 1993 where I was installed as Abbot of the Zen Center by Zen Master Seung Sahn during the opening ceremony. The Huntington Beach Zen Center was originally a residential Zen Center where up to eight students lived and practiced. I faithfully served as the Abbot for fifteen years from 1993 until the summer of 2008. The Zen Center eventually moved to Stanton and later to Long Beach when it became a non-residential Center in 2000.

Throughout the late 1980's and into the early 1990's I had the opportunity to practice with Zen Master Seung Sahn; and although his grand-teacher was retired from formal teaching at the time, the monks at Dharma Zen Center would frequently request him to host kōan interviews with the students during his frequent long stays in Los Angeles. I traveled throughout the US practicing with teachers both inside and outside of the Kwan Um School of Zen. During those early years I visited Danan Henry Roshi, Ruben Habito Roshi, Jakusho Kwong Roshi, Venerable Kyogen Carlson, Chosen Bays Roshi and Joshu Sasaki Roshi. Inside the Kwan Um School of Zen, I have practiced with all of the Zen Masters and many of the Jidopopsa-nims.
I received Inka from Zen Master Ji Bong of the Golden Wind Zen Order in April of 2006; I am no longer associated with the Golden Wind Order and have since founded the Five Mountain Sangha as an independent organization from both Kwan Um and Golden Wind. I have recently entered into Zen studies with James Ford Roshi in the Harada/Yasutani Lineage of Japanese Zen as transmitted through John Tarrant Roshi who was the first Dharma Heir of Robert Aitken Roshi. Besides having a practice location in Huntington Beach, California, we also have Zen Centers located in Berkeley, California, and Cincinnati, Ohio. 

I have also traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia and spent much time in China, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore. Sharing and discovering the roots of Buddhism has been a great joy in my life.