Shinzen Young (真善 Shinzen ) is an American meditation teacher. He leads residential and phone-based meditation retreats for students interested in learning the Vipassana (mindfulness) tradition of Buddhism. Although Vipassana is traditionally a Theravada technique, Shinzen was originally ordained in Japan as a monk in the Shingon (Japanese Vajrayana) tradition. He has studied and practiced extensively in other traditions, including Zen and Native American traditions.
He frequently uses concepts from mathematics as a metaphor to illustrate the abstract concepts of meditation. As a result, his teachings tend to be popular among academics and professionals. His interest in integrating meditation with scientific paradigms has led to collaborations with neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Vermont. He is working on various ways to bring a secular mindfulness practice to a wider audience using revamped terminology and techniques as well as automated expert systems.
Shinzen has adapted the central Buddhist concept of the five skandhas or aggregates into modern language, grouped them into sensory categories with potential neurological correlates, and developed an extensive system of meditation techniques for working with those categories individually and in combinations.
Shinzen Young was born as Steve Young in Los Angeles, California. His parents were Jewish. While in middle school, he became fascinated with Asian languages and cultures. After graduating from UCLA as an Asian Language major, he enrolled in the the University of Wisconsin's Ph.D. program in Buddhist Studies. In order to gather materials for his doctoral dissertation, he ordained as a Shingon monk at Mount Koya, Japan in 1970, after which he trained extensively in each of the three major Buddhist traditions: Vajrayana, Zen, and Vipassana.
- Break Through Pain: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Meditation Program for Transforming Chronic and Acute Pain (2006) ISBN 1-59179-199-5
- Emotional Healing through Mindfulness Meditation: Stories and Meditations for Women Seeking Wholeness (2002) ISBN 0-89281-998-7
- The Beginner's Guide to Meditation (2002) ISBN 1-56455-971-8
- The Science of Enlightenment (2005) ISBN 1-59179-232-0
- Pain Relief (2004) ISBN 1-59179-180-4
- Beginner's Mind: 3 Classic Meditation Practices Especially for Beginners (1999) ISBN 1-56455-733-2
- Break Through Difficult Emotions: How to Transform Painful Feelings With Mindfulness Meditation (1997) ISBN 1-56455-441-4
- Break Through Pain: How to Relieve Pain Using Powerful Meditation Techniques (1997) ISBN 1-56455-365-5
- Meditation in the Zone: How to Turn Your Workout into a High-Quality Meditation (1996) ISBN 1-56455-392-2
- Five Classic Meditations: Mantra, Vipassana, Karma Yoga, Loving Kindness, Kabbalah (1990) ISBN 1-55927-035-7 (2004) ISBN 1-59397-521-X
- [dead link] Fall 2005 By Polly Young-Eisendrath, in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
- "BG 102: Shinzen Young: The Hybrid Teacher" (Podcast). Buddhist Geeks: Seriously Buddhist, Seriously Geeky. 2008-12-28. http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2008/12/bg-102-shinzen-young-the-hybrid-teacher/. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
- Shinzen Young's website - This site has a broad range of theoretical and practice focussed articles and audio dharma talks, as well as a schedule of meditation retreats offered.
- Shinzen Young's website for telephone-based meditation trainings
- Shinzen Young's blog
- Shinzen Young's video talks on YouTube