Hello my name is Patrick Hughes. I’m Canadian born, but now live on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia with my Australian wife and two children: My son Bodhi (3yo) and baby daughter Ondine. I currently study at the University of Newcastle.
I actually decided I was Buddhist when I was still a kid. I read whatever I could find at the local library about Buddhism, but there was slim to no chance of joining or even finding a group then.
I eventually started Tae Kwon Do, then boxing, and Judo. When I was twenty I started training in Ninjutsu. Stephen Hayes, who was the fellow who brought it to North America, was an ordained Tendai priest. He incorporated Tendai Mikkyo into his teachings. I wrote a letter to his teacher, Rev. Clark Jikai Choffy, a professor living in Missouri. We corresponded for a while, and then he invited me to visit him. During my visit in '93, Jikai Sensei accepted me as his student, and initiated me into a Tendai ceremony.
Back in Canada. Rev. Jikai and I continued to correspond and talk on the phone. He would send me books and material to continue my studies. As well he encouraged me to attend other Buddhist organizations, like Nichiren and Jodo Shinshu. Then in '95 or '96, he geographically moved, and we unfortunately lost contact.
I then began a search for another Tendai teacher, but they were (and still are) few and far between in North America. Around this time I met Doreen Hamilton, the then Buddhist chaplain at University of Toronto. She was with the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) sect. She was never my formal teacher, but more of a mentor. I also began attending Karma Kagyu in Toronto; a Tibetan Buddhist centre. When I moved it became harder to make it down to regular teachings.
I then continued my interest in Buddhism generally. I studied Buddhism in various forms and saw The Dalai Lama twice in my travels. Eventually I became interested in Zen and contacted Hoka Matt Lawther (Fa Zhāo) through ZBOHY. I had been previously in contact with Matt for a few years before commencing my attendance at Silky Oak Zen. I have now been sitting with the Silky Oak Zen community for almost a year and they have become great friends. In this time I’ve become a student with The Boundless Mind Zen School and regularly keep up with OBW activities, through our local practice and on social media.
Over the years I've continued in many different martial arts, achieving multiple instructorships. I’m also a Feldenkrais Practitioner. I've practiced yoga on and off for years, and became a certified teacher in 2011.
I also like to play the Shakuhachi flute and am studying with Grandmaster Riley Lee.
Great to be part of the big family.