Shinzen Young (真善, Shinzen) is a Vipassana meditation teacher. Although Vipassana is traditionally a Theravada technique, Shinzen was originally ordained in Japan as a monk in the Shingon tradition. He has studied and practiced extensively in other traditions, including Zen and Lakota Sioux Shamanism.
He frequently uses concepts from mathematics as a metaphor to illustrate the abstract concepts of meditation. As a result, his teachings tend to be popular among academics and professionals. His interest in integrating meditation with scientific paradigms has led to collaborations with neuroscientists at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is working on various ways to bring a secular mindfulness practice to a wider audience, using revamped terminology and techniques and automated expert systems.
Shinzen Young became fascinated with Asian culture while a teenager in Los Angeles. Later he enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin.
Eventually, he went to Asia and did extensive training in each of the three major Buddhist meditative traditions: Vajrayana, Zen, and Vipassana.
Upon returning to the United States, his intellectual interests shifted to the burgeoning dialogue between Eastern internal science and Western technological science. In recognition of his original contributions to that dialogue, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology has awarded him an honorary doctorate.
Shinzen's innovative techniques for pain management derived from two sources: The first is his personal experience dealing with discomfort during intense periods of meditation in Asia, and during shamanic ceremonies with tribal cultures. The second is some three decades of experience in coaching people through a wide spectrum of chronic and acute pain challenges.
Shinzen leads meditation retreats in the mindfulness tradition throughout North America, and has helped establish several centers and programs.
- Break Through Pain: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Meditation Program for Transforming Chronic and Acute Pain (2006)
- Emotional Healing through Mindfulness Meditation: Stories and Meditations for Women Seeking Wholeness (2002)
- The Beginner's Guide to Meditation (2002)
- The Science of Enlightenment (2005) ISBN 1-59179-232-0
- Pain Relief (2004) ISBN 1-59179-180-4
- Beginner's Mind: 3 Classic Meditation Practices Especially for Beginners (1999)
- Break Through Difficult Emotions: How to Transform Painful Feelings With Mindfulness Meditation (1997)
- Break Through Pain: How to Relieve Pain Using Powerful Meditation Techniques (1997)
- Meditation in the Zone: How to Turn Your Workout into a High-Quality Meditation (1996)
- Five Classic Meditations: Mantra, Vipassana, Karma Yoga, Loving Kindness, Kabbalah (1990) ISBN 1-55927-035-7 (2004)
- Shinzen Young's Website - This site has a broad range of theoretical and practice focussed articles and audio dharma talks. Last updated late 2008.
- Basic Mindfulness Home Practice Program - The site offers detailed information on Shinzen's newest formulation of his practice - The 5 Ways.
- Expand/Contract - A YouTube Channel with extensive range of recent teaching videos by Shinzen. New videos added regularly.
- Video Interviews with Shinzen - Conducted by Stephanie Nash.
- Audio Interviews with Shinzen - Also conducted by Stephanie Nash ("The 4th Dimension of Spirituality" and "The 5 WAYS: 5 Techniques that are Strategies for the Spiritual Path".
- Audio Interview Series on Buddhist Geeks
- On Enlightenment - An interview with Shinzen Young by Har-Prakash Khalsa.
- A student's blog