John, aka Genyo, has lived in western Massachusetts most of his life. Along with music, he has always been interested in exploring wisdom paths.. He first studied theology as a youth at an Episcopal church. He later pursued a liberal arts program at Amherst College, studying world music, philosophy, and Buddhism (with renowned scholar, Robert Thurman). After graduating, he continued investigating Tibetan Buddhism, especially Dzogchen, receiving teachings from H.H. the Dalai Lama, Namkhai Norbu, Tenzin Wangal, Chagdud Tulku, and H.H. Jigme Punstok.
For ten years he studied and practiced Zen with Roshi Eve Marko, a teacher in the White Plum Asanga and the Zen Peacemakers, from whom he received his dharma name, Genyo. He also did some study with Eve’s husband, the renowned maverick Zen teacher Bernie Glassman. In August 2015 he received Dharma Transmission from Eve, and became an authorized Zen teacher, and taught for several years at the Green River Zen Center.
John has also done extensive exploration in other traditions, both spiritual and secular, and has studied and practiced a variety of holistic healing and personal growth methods. He has attended teachings and retreats in Sufism, mystical Judaism, Taoism, Hindu meditation and yoga, Theravada, Mahayana, along with his studies of Tibetan Vajrayana, and Zen Buddhism. He has taught classes in world religions, yoga, philosophy, and self-awareness practices to both adults and teenagers. In the 1980’s he maintained a holistic counseling, healing, and coaching practice, which he has now reopened in a new form.
John received his M.A. from Vermont College, pursuing an interdisciplinary program in comparative world religions and creativity studies. For his thesis he wrote and self-published a work entitled The Heart of Creation, an investigation of the nature of inspiration for both artists and mystics He also spent 12 years on an in-depth study of the Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching, culminating with his publishing of a new translation and commentary under the title, The Power of the Way.
As a musician, John studied piano and recorders as a youth. He began improvising as a response to his love of jazz, improv-rock, and Indian raga. In college he studied world music with David Reck, and had his first experience accompanying dance. For decades he has worked extensively with dancers, and taught a popular workshop called the Moving Village. He has also taught workshops in creativity, and improvisation in both music and movement. He has released four CDs of improvisational music, especially for movement and contemplation, one of which was nominated by JPFolks for best instrumental album of the year. He has created music or presented programs at Smith College, Amherst College, Dance New England, Clark University, Hampshire College, the School for Body-Mind Centering®, Earthdance retreat center, Jacob's Pillow, the Dance Complex, Wire Monkey Dance, Harvard University, UMass Amherst, Mt. Holyoke College, and Williams College, and is in the core group of Mandala Dance. He also creates music for yoga, meditational settings, and sacred ceremony.