• the Little Church (map)
  • 5138 Northeast 23rd Avenue
  • Portland, OR, 97211
  • United States
David's mugshot.jpg

David McKay will be joining us Wednesday, December 13th from 7pm to 9pm, at The Little Church in NE Portland. Dave entered a Zen Buddhist monastery at the age of twenty-nine and spent the next eighteen years training there in silence. Over time he became a skilled facilitator and counselor, offering retreats and workshops at the monastery and across the country. David left the monastery in the fall of 2014 to further explore life and practice back in the world. He currently teaches and offers support for practice from his home in Colorado.

He'll be talking about his book, the One Open Door (which will be available for purchase), as well as leading a mediation and facilitating a discussion.

Suggested donation of $12-$20. No one will be turned away.


David was an unlikely candidate to become a monk. Born in the suburbs and taught to behave, raised to live a worldly and outwardly-focused life, he set out as a young man to accomplish something profitable and impressive, as his peers did. The trouble was that he just couldn't do it. There was some inspiration within him he could not understand that simply refused to throw his life away, as he saw it, on insubstantial things.

And so David abandoned the life he was brought up to live. He bought an old van and spent the next eight or nine years living back in the woods and way out in the desert on his own. He sought in solitude what he couldn't find in society, which was some good reason to live and some useful work to do. His intentions were good but he had no tools; he had the required willingness but lacked effective guidance and so, gradually, his efforts resulted in weariness and despair.

It was just then that help arrived. Through a series of blessed accidents he discovered spiritual practice. He learned to look inward and, to his surprise and delight, he began to have real glimpses of happiness and self-love. Then the big moment came when he met the person who would become his teacher. She inspired him to give his life to practice; for a full year he vacillated between ecstasy and horror until, finally, in a moment of blind courage and inspiration, he cast myself upon the mercy of the monastery she founded and asked for help. Eighteen years of silent Zen training followed. Over time, as he stumbled through every sort of scrape and pitfall imaginable, his commitment deepened, he acquired the tools of awareness practice, he grew up, and eventually he found the love and acceptance he was searching for.

Three years ago David left the monastery to pursue new challenges and opportunities in the world. Since then he has worked to offer others the same life-saving gift that was given him as a young man. Currently David practices and offers practice from his home in Colorado.