Sensei Daishin was born in London, England, to a Jewish-Christian family of Eastern European backgrounds. He began Zen practice in Philadelphia in 1967, receiving both lay and Priest ordination in the Korean Chogye Order of Zen from the Venerable Seo Kyung-bo. He later practiced with (then) Maezumi Sensei at the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA), where he was in residence until 1979. He served as pastoral counselor, and was publishing editor of the ZCLA Journal and the Zen Writings Series. In 1999, Daishin renewed his Priest vows with Sensei Yoshin Jordan, and returned to ZCLA to study with Roshi Egyoku. In 2003 he received Preceptor Transmission and was empowered as Dharma Holder, and subsequently received Dharma Transmission in June 2008. Sensei Daishin has a PsyD in Psychology from the Southern California Psychoanalytic Institute. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical practice. He leads an affiliated sitting group, the Ocean Moon Sangha, in Santa Monica and teaches Buddhist psychology and zazen to mental health professionals. Daishin is the author of To Forget the Self and Zen Meditation in Plain English (Wisdom, 2002) and is co-editor with Roshi Egyoku of the On Zen Practice collection). He is married to Concetta Getsuren Alfano, a Zen practitioner, psychoanalyst and co-founder of the Center for Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. Daishin has one son.
Peter Matthiessen was born in Manhattan, New York on May 22, 1927. He served in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. He graduated with a degree in English from Yale University in 1950. It was around this time that he was recruited by the CIA and traveled to Paris, where he became acquainted with several young expatriate American writers. In the postwar years the CIA covertly financed magazines and cultural programs to counter the spread of Communism. While in Paris, he helped found The Paris Review in 1953. After returning to the United States, he worked as a commercial fisherman and the captain of a charter fishing boat. His first novel, Race Rock, was published in 1954. His other fiction works include Partisans, Raditzer, Far Tortuga, and In Paradise. His novel, Shadow Country, won a National Book Award. His novel, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, was made into a movie. He started writing nonfiction after divorcing his first wife. An assignment for Sports Illustrated to report on American endangered species led to the book Wildlife in America, which was published in 1959. His travels took him to Asia, Australia, South America, Africa, New Guinea, the Florida swamps, and beneath the ocean. These travels led to articles in The New Yorker as well as numerous nonfiction books including The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness, Under the Mountain Wall: A Chronicle of Two Seasons of Stone Age New Guinea, Blue Meridian: The Search for the Great White Shark, The Tree Where Man Was Born, and Men's Lives. The Snow Leopard won the 1979 National Book Award for nonfiction. He died from leukemia on April 5, 2014 at the age of 86.