The Point of Contact

Vipassana teacher Shinzen Young discusses pain, procrastination, and enlightenment for everyone.

Polly Young-Eisendrath

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Shinzen YoungAt the age of fourteen, Steve Young, a Jewish kid growing up in Los Angeles, saw a samurai movie. It triggered in him an interest in Japanese culture and language that eventually led to his enrollment in an alternative school system for Japanese-American children. From then on, he grew up “bilingual and bicultural.” When he reached high school, to deepen his understanding of Japanese culture, Young felt he needed to understand its Chinese influences, so his parents hired a Mandarin language tutor. When he learned of the influence of Indian culture on Chinese culture by way of Buddhism, he moved on to Sanskrit, and asked his parents for another tutor.

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