The four most dangerous words in the English language? “I have an idea.”

I spent seven years training as a zen buddhist monk and from the moment I first put a paddle blade into a river three years ago at the ripe young age of 48, I felt the concept of zen shift to an actualization of zen through whitewater kayaking. I was struck by the value the lessons of 2500 years of zen practice take on in the rivers, and I started thinking about writing something about that.

At first I sat down to write a blog about zen training and paddling. Then I showed the first page to my friend Andy Round and he was inspired to write down his thoughts on zen and paddling. The original idea and my attachment to it fell away as soon as I realized that I have a very a limited authority to write about zen training and even less about paddling, so I’ve invited some of my friends (who can write about paddling with great authority) to contribute using traditional zen stories as a starting point for their thoughts on the confluence between zen and whitewater paddling. Along the way I’ll throw in bits and pieces, but by and large this is a communal blog. Please feel free to comment or contribute to this small community.

In gassho,



Why Do This?

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