At a time in my life when I had drifted far from my Quaker origins, I found the discipline of Zen meditation to be clarifying, healing, and liberating. Curiously, this Asian spiritual practice has led me back to the Society of Friends: the more I practice Zen, the more thoroughly Quaker I become. The spiritual insights of Christianity and Quakerism have regained for me fresh depth, power, charisma. Within the earliest records of Quakerism, in the writings of George Fox and other early Friends, I find – to my wonder and delight – remarkably explicit guidelines for spiritual practice that are often diluted or obscured in contemporary un-programmed Friends’ worship. In A Quaker in the Zendo, I tell the story of my journey through Zen to a rediscovery of these directions for spiritual formation practiced by the earliest Quakers.
About the Author(s)
Steve Smith was born in 1939, and grew up in Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative). He attended Scattergood Friends School, Earlham College, and Harvard University, from which he received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy. He has recently retired from 35 years of teaching in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. He is a member of Claremont Monthly Meeting (Pacific Yearly Meeting) and has served his monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings in various capacities. He has a son, David. Steve and his wife, Pat, live in the small California mountain village of Mt. Baldy.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #370