The Teachers

The Teachers & EDIG Leaders

David Xi-Ken Astor Sensei and Wayne Ren-Cheng Hughes Shi, have taken full vows and ordained Clerics as American Pragmatic Buddhist monks, trained in the Pragmatic Buddhist tradition by Dr. Jim Eubanks Sensei (Ven. Shi Yong Xiang), who’s historical lineage traces its roots from ancient schools of Chinese Ch’an as well as Japanese Soto Zen.  EDIG has established Mahayana Nakayan Buddhism as it’s teaching platform that reflects the pragmatic roots to be found in how the Buddha expressed the dharma.  They are both Co-founders and Co-Directors of Buddhist Studies of EDIG, and direct engaged Buddhist activities in their respective communities in St. Louis, MO. and Sebring, Florida.  Wayne Shi holds the office of Guest Prefect, and David Sensei holds the office of Prior.  They also maintain a full international teaching schedule associated with the EDIG Learning Center’s course offerings.

The Venerable Wayne Hughes (Ren-Cheng) was ordained a Cleric in the Order of Pragmatic Buddhists, in May 2009, in St. Louis, MO.  He was honored to perform the duties of deshi, otomo for his root teacher Dr. Jim Eubanks Sensei; to act as the Guest Prefect of the Order, to be the Associate Director of Buddhist Studies, and to lead the St. Louis Chapter of the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism (CPB).

Wayne Shi  continues with the American Pragmatic Buddhist tradition of “life-long learning” and the Engaged Dharma tradition of engaging the dharma through the actions of the social self.

Wayne Ren-Cheng Shi is author of: Encompassing Direction: A Contemporary Commentary on the Sigalovada Sutra.


memnr2The Venerable David Xi-Ken Astor 曦 , took full ordination vows and was conferred a Cleric in the Order of Pragmatic Buddhists (OPB), in May 2010, at the Place of Peace Temple at Furman University, in Greenville, SC by the Ven. Dr. Shi Yong Xiang his root teacher.   David Sensei performed the duties of Prior for his Order, deshi, assistant otomo, and led the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism Annapolis Meditation Center.  OPB’s lineage is both Ch’an (Chinese) and Soto Zen but also uniquely American through it’s pragmatic perspective.  He is a forth generation American Dharma Holder of his lineage, with a committed tokudo practice.   David Sensei is also the Prior General of the Order of Engaged Buddhists, a contemplative monastic community.  Before his affiliation with CPB/OPB he studied as a formal student with a Soto Zen master in New York.  He has had  a Buddhist practice for over two decades, and as a Zen priest is engaged full time in his community outside the walls of a traditional monastery.  But like many Americans, David Sensei was raised in the Christian tradition which led him to first follow the spiritual path as a Franciscan monk in a monastery (house of formation) near Chicago.   He received a BS degree in mathematics and computer science from University of Illinois, and pursued graduate studies in psychology, sociology, and law at DePaul University.  He holds a Level-I Certification as a Mindfulness Meditation Therapist.  In addition to his community work, his time is spent in research, international teaching and writing, as well as being engaged in a prison mentoring program.   His inter-faith interests were pursued by his leading a meditation group as a Pastoral Associate at an Episcopal  Church near Annapolis where meditation and inter-faith studies and dialogue were  engaged weekly prior to his relocating EDIG’s Maryland center to Sebring Florida.  David Sensei is a member of the Inter-faith Conference of Washington D.C.  If you would like information on attending his meditation & insight classes, his email is

David Xi-Ken Astor is author of:  Pragmatic Buddhism: Reflecting Contemporary Vitality

luis4Rev. Yao-Xin Shakya (Luis Lista).  Yao-Xin is the translator for EDIG who’s skills include French, English, Portuguese, and Spanish.  He is also the European Liaison Director of the Order of Engaged Buddhists, the monastic community supporting some of EDIG’s meditation centers.  In April 2011, Yao-Xin received full ordination as a Zen priest in the lineage of Shi Fo Yuan of the YunMen (Ummon) Ch’an House by Ming Zhen Shakya, through the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun.  Since then he is honored to be the Associate-Abbot of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun, and the founder and senior teacher of Dharma Winds Zen Hermitage (ZBOHY/Zatma) in Namur, Belgium.  He shares with humbleness and simplicity the combined practice of Pureland recitation and Ch’an meditation.  Yao-Xin Shakya has studied Buddhism since he was 14 years old, when he first entered a Buddhist Temple.  He studies and teaches Ch’an Buddhism under the guidance of his ordination master Ming Zhen Shakya.  In addition, he continues to study Soto Zen Buddhism under Master Taigu Sensei through the Blue Mountain Hermitage.

Yao-Xin studied and practiced Esoteric Buddhism in the Lineage of the Adi Buddha Mandala under the late Guru Chen Mihn Chien, and received Transmission of the Mind Seal in the Vietnamese Esoteric lineage of Thich Vien Duc through the MatGiao Friendship Association founded by Thich Duc Quy.

brian kenna pic 2Venerable Dr. Brian Shen-Jin Kenna is the Meditation Leader of our New York affiliate group in Long island, and has been conferred a Precept Holder in the EDIG lineage.  Shen-Jin has received Upasampada (Bhikkhu) ordination and conferred a fully ordained monk in the Order of Engaged Buddhists (OEB).   Shen-Jin continues his formal training in monastic formation under the guidance of David Astor Sensei. He received a BA, Masters in Ministry and Doctorate in Theology from Crossroads Theological Seminary. He continued his post graduate education at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in the Executive Certificate Program as well as Post Graduate studies in law receiving a Paralegal Certification from Blackstone Law. Prior to stepping on the Buddhist path, he was a Baptist minister assigned to several churches specializing in youth programs.

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