The Teachers & EDIG Leaders
Rev. David Xi-Ken Astor and Wayne Ren-Cheng Hughes Shi, have taken full vows and are ordained Buddhist clerics, 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.
Currently he teaches regularly at the Buddha Center in the virtual world of Second Life. There he holds Monday and Friday sessions with Buddhists and non-Buddhists interested in transforming HOW they are and HOW they live their lives. Mahayana is at the core of those teachings yet Wayne She has come to realize that Buddhism in the West must look to the wide array of Buddhist philosophy and practice in order to achieve a form of Buddhism that will work for Westerners. This reveals the pragmatism and pluralism taught to him by his teacher and Shi’s own experience.
Wayne Ren-Cheng Shi is author of: Encompassing Direction: A Contemporary Commentary on the Sigalovada Sutra.
The Venerable Rev. Shi Shen-Xi Astor沉 曦 (Xi-Ken 曦肯 OPB, Shi Qian-Xi 乾曦 DWZS) Under the dharma name of Xi-Ken, David Astor was ordained and conferred a Zen 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. He performed the duties of Prior for his Order, deshi, assistant otomo, and led the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism Annapolis Meditation Center. Reverend David’s root ordaining lineage is both Ch’an (Chinese) and Soto Zen but also uniquely American through it’s pragmatic perspective. Shen-Xi took final Professed Monastic vows in OEB in March 2016.
Shen-Xi has also been honored by being received and recognized as a Zen Priest in the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha/Order of Hsu Yun-zatma by Rev. Yao Xin Shakya a transmitted Zen Priest & Master of the YunMen Lineage of Zen through the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun, a Pure Land tradition. Shen-Xi has been given full authorization to teach the Dharma of Shakya, Huineng, Linji, Hanshan and Hsu Yun in the YunMen Zen lineage of Shi MiaoXin Fo Yuan. He has a committed contemporary Western tokudo practice.
Prior to these affiliations and years of formal training, he also studied as a non-resident student with a Soto Zen master in New York. As a Zen priest, Dharma Holder, itinerant monk and pastoral minister, Shi Shen-Xi is engaged full time in his community outside the walls of a traditional monastery residence. 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 & seminary) near Chicago. He received a BS degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Illinois Chicago, 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 ministry. His inter-faith interests were pursued by performing as a Pastoral Associate at an Episcopal Church near Annapolis Maryland where meditation and inter-faith studies and dialogue were engaged weekly prior to his relocating his monastic residence to Sebring Florida. David Sensei is a member of the Inter-faith Conference of Washington D.C.
David Xi-Ken Astor is author of: Pragmatic Buddhism: Reflecting Contemporary Vitality
Rev. 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.
Venerable 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.