Ryotan received Inka from Roshi Enkyo O’Hara in a private empowerment ceremony on March 31, 2020, during the period when the Village Zendo was closed due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Ryotan was named Sensei at the Village Zendo temple (Dotokuji) in December 2008. He began the formal practice of Zen in 1989 at Zen Mountain Monastery and studied for eight years with Roshi John Daido Loori. He has been studying with Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara since 1997. In August 2002, Ryotan received ordination in the Soto Zen lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, and in August 2005 he received the title of “Hoshi”, or “Dharma Holder”. Currently, he serves as coordinator of the Zendo’s Buddhist program at Sing Sing prison. Ryotan practices psychotherapy in the Union Square area of Manhattan.
He says, “I have found that the practices of Zen and psychotherapy feed each other, though not necessarily in the ways you read about in books.”