John Freese


John was born and raised in Fort Worth Texas. He went to Vassar College in Pougkeepsie New York where he graduated in 1995 with a degree in film. During his freshman year at Vassar he became interested in Buddhism and meditation after visiting a nearby Zen Monastery called Zen Mountain Monastery. He started going there regularly to meditate and to hear John Daido Loori, Roshi teach the Dharma. John maintained a daily mediation practice during and after college and in 1998 he became a Buddhist Monk with the Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. He trained at two of Thich Nhat Hanh’s monasteries, Plum Village and Deer Park Monastery, for six years. John also has a deep connection with Mother Meera who he first had darshan with in 1995 in Thalheim Germany.

In response to an inner calling he left the monastery in 2004 and spent 2 years traveling and practicing at different monasteries and Ashrams in Europe, Asia, and North America. His path eventually led him to Tiruvannamalai in South India where he was with Sri Laksmana Swami and Sri Saradamma for three years. They are Gurus in the direct spiritual lineage of Ramana Maharishi

John graduated from The University of The West in May of 2015 with a Master of Divinity.  He is currently a PhD candidate at the Claremont School of Theology and an adjunct professor at UWest.  He co-founded The Engaged Buddhist Alliance, a non-profit a non-profit led by co-founder Venerable De Hong that teaches mindfulness and Buddhism to over 200 students in over eight state prisons in Southern California.  John taught monthly classes at Calipatria State Prison for three years. He did a three year residency in spiritually integrated psychotherapy at The Clinebell Institute in Claremont. His Buddhist counseling approach is made up of elements from traditional Buddhist practice, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and somatic trauma therapy.

The meditation practice that he does and teaches includes awareness of breathing, resting in natural awareness, and investigating the source of awareness.

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