Douglas Phillips has practiced Zen and Vipassana for over 30 years. Doug began his work in Vipassana with Larry Rosenberg in 1990 and has studied with Maurine Stuart, Roshi, Zen Master George Bowman, James Ford, Roshi and Vimala Thakar. He received permission to teach from Larry in 1995 and Dharma Transmission in 2003. After several years of practice with Maurine and George, Doug began his koan study in earnest with James in 2004. He received full Dharma Transmission (Denbo) in December 2014 in the Aitken-Tarrant line of the Harada-Yasutani-Yamada koan lineage. In May 2015 Doug was ordained a Soto Zen priest (Shukke Tokudo) in the Jiyu Kennett lineage and on May 13, 2017, in a public ceremony received Inka Shomei (The Final Seal of Transmission) and the title of "Roshi" from James Myo-un Ford, Roshi. He is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA) and the Teacher's Council of the Pacific Zen Institute (PZI).
Doug’s teaching focuses on the ancient teachings of the Buddha as a Path of Freedom and Liberation from the conditioned constrictions of the mind. In addition to his training in zen and vipassana he has been deeply influenced by the teachings of J. Krishnamurti and especially those of Vimala Thakar, with whom he spent several weeks in India and maintained a correspondence until her death. His teaching is simple and direct and makes extensive use of both formal practice and practice in relationships, as well as a non-authoritarian approach with an emphasis on individual independence. All who work with him are encouraged to find transformative opportunities in each moment and relationship and to explore effortless awareness in the present moment as the first and last step on the Path.
Doug is also a licensed clinical psychologist and maintains a small private psychotherapy practice in Newton, MA. He lives in Waltham, MA.
Mary Gates is a long time student of Doug’s in the Vipassana tradition. Prior to that she studied with Fr. Thomas Keating and has taught Centering Prayer as well as other Christian contemplative practices for over 30 years. She has also co-led retreats at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY. Mary is a psychotherapist in private practice in West Cornwall, CT, and an Episcopal priest in charge of two small congregations in CT. She is currently engaged in studying the Harada-Yasutani koan curriculum with Doug and assists at retreats as well as the Thursday night group.
On March 14, 2013, in a simple ceremony of Dharma Transmission, Doug gave Mary his full approval and authorization as a teacher of Vipassana as passed along to him by Larry Rosenberg. Mary has Doug's complete confidence and trust to independently lead retreats and guide personal students. This was a moving and joyous occasion for Mary, Doug and the dharma friends in witness.
On October 28, 2016, in a private ceremony before a few witnesses Mary received Denkai (Dharma Holder), the first of a two part transmission in the Harada-Yasutani lineage. Mary is empowered to offer the full Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts and accept personal students through the Shoken ceremony. She continues as co-guiding teacher of our sangha.