Rick Issan Mugai Elkin
Rick Issan Mugai Elkin was born in rural New Hampshire.
I’m an avid outdoorsman, hiking, camping, fishing, seeking solitude and communion with nature, I spent my youth among the pine forests of northern New England, attended a small prep school in the White Mountains of NH and completed my formal education with a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art/ Art History and Early Childhood Education from Elmira College in NY state.
I have pursued a lifetime career as an independent studio craftsman as a potter as well as a jeweler/metalsmith and educator and mentor.
Early influences in life were the teachings and philosophies of many of the Eastern Gurus popular in the 1970’s, such as Kirpal Singh, Baba Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hahn, Suzuki, and of course, Trungpa.
The radical esoteric Christians like Thomas Merton, Brennan Manning and Matthew Fox, provided a counterpoint to Eastern studies. Albeit, I eventually abandoned the path of Christian thought.
The writers that attracted my interest and study were Thomas Mann, Herman Hesse, Gary Snyder, Kesey and Kerouac, Campbell as well as naturalists, the likes of Edward Abbey and Barry Lopez, all of whom manifested as a synthesis of insights for me.
Going to the source, the root texts of Buddhism, Indigenous traditions and Eastern philosophy became my deeper source of inspiration and a lifetime pursuit.
These studies lay the foundation for my earnest inquiry into an archetypal search for meaning and clarity.
Inquiry drew me to the work of Dr. Carl Jung. Pursuing a Jungian course of study through the Jungian Foundation’s Centerpoint Program, I became deeply immersed in dream work.
Through exceptionally fortuitous circumstances, I serendipitously encountered Joan Blackmer, a well know Jungian analyst, translator and author with whom I engaged as an analysand in Jungian dream work until her death.
I met Zen Master and teacher, Roshi Jitsudo Ancheta, (Dai Osho), a dharma successor of Taizan Maezumi (Dai Osho), founder of Zen Center, Los Angeles. Jitsudo and I recognized one another as Dharma brothers and we began a formal relationship as teacher and student. Eventually, I became Jitsudo Roshi’s dharma heir through formal transmission.
I received Denkai from Thomas Zenho Whalen.
Currently, I am engaged in the practice and integration of entheogenic awareness, Tantric Vajrayana (Dzogchen) and traditional Zen practice and dream-koan work.
In conjunction with Dr. Thomas Zenho Whalen, dharma brother and fellow dream worker, we are engaged in the creation of the Eighthwave Community.
Thomas Zenho Whalen
Tom was born in a small Vermont town, into an Irish Catholic family. All four grandparents emigrated from Ireland. His Maternal Grandmother was a Hennessy (and her maternal grandfather a Selkie, the Seal Clan, the messengers between the underwater world and the everyday world). When young Tommy was 4, Julie Hennessy McCarthy began telling him “You remind me of my grandfather. He was 6’4” with long blond hair. He loved to dance and would throw me up onto his shoulders while he danced. He was a Druid priest and a Catholic priest.”
I began having memorable dreams when 5.
When I was 7, I had my first past-life experience: meeting 8 year old Bonnie B. We immediately recognized each other as a Native American couple from the Southwest deserts, Bonnie, the man, and I, the woman. Believe me, past life experiences were never a topic of conversation in an Irish Catholic family, nor in small town 50’s Vermont. I wonder if many of you haven’t had similar experiences.
By the time I was 8, I was acutely aware of the suffering of everyone around me, and a lack of ability to change that.
High school and college between 1963-71. Those tumultuous years of Vietnam, the Civil rights Movement, and sex/drugs/rock&roll. College for me was filled with too little formal studying and, perhaps, too many psychedelics.
Upon graduation, I became a hippie carpenter. Looking for something more sustainable than psychedelics, I came upon the book “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind” and began a regular meditation practice.
Still aware of the suffering in the world, I started to learn acupuncture and then went to medical school (University of Vermont), graduating in 1981. I then completed two Residency trainings: Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology. I’ve been practicing pain management since 1987. For the last 15 years, I’ve been in private practice. I can spend as much time with my patient as I want. And I work together with Chinese medicine doctors, Chiropractic doctors, and behavioral health providers. I teach meditation. Since 2016, I’ve been providing ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression and PTSD.
Between 1975 and 1991, I received four very important teachers: my children Katie, Hal, Brian, Roone. Each of them completely different. Each of them with much bigger hearts than I will ever have. Constant role models for me.
I began Archetypal DreamWork practice with Marc Bregman and Christa Lancaster in 1989. We continue to work together on a weekly basis. Illuminating my blind spots as revealed within my dreams..
Some pretty intense feelings began to emerge in 1991, and I entered into a four year struggle with active fentanyl addiction. I know the ravages of addiction inside and out. I am now exploring the combination of psychedelic treatment with meditation and dreamwork in the treatment of addictions.
May 1997, I met Jitsudo Mugai Ancheta, Roshi. We immediately recognized each other, and I accepted him as my teacher. I entered into sustained, deep Zen practice. From the outset, I combined Zen practice with Dream practice, sharing my dreams with Roshi every time we met in dokusan (formal Zen interview with the Roshi/teacher). For his part, Jitsudo Roshi never commented on the dreams. For 13 years, no comment. One night, he and I were sitting alone in our small Zendo. Late into the wintry evening. The altar candle had burned out, and I could barely see him across the room. His voice suddeny emerged “You know, dreams are really important. You have the capacity to bring them into Zen practice.”
Jitsudo Mugai Ancheta, Roshi, is a confirmed teacher in the lineages of Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, and Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi. We practice, and have authority to teach in Soto, Rinzai, Sanbo, and Zen Peacemaker traditions. Some years ago, Jitsudo Roshi formally confirmed me as a Dharma successor, authorizing me to teach. When his health began to wane a few years ago, he asked me to assume the teaching responsibilities for Mugai Sangha, our Zen group in Albuquerque, NM.
Since then, I’ve formally introduced Dream-Koan practice as a mainstay of our approach to realization.
Over 10 years ago, I began to practice with David Elliott, a wonderful Brother and teacher. David uses as mainstays of his practice Sacrd Circle teaching, creative expression, and BreathWork meditation, a pranayama style breath practice.
Most recently, in conjunction with Rick Issan Mugai Elkin, Dharma Brother and fellow dream worker, I’m engaged in the creation of the Eighthwave Community.
We are really excited to introduce you to the life changing practices of Dream-Koan, Zen meditation, BreathWork. It is fun and life changing. And incredibly challenging and difficult. But you can do it.