Biography

AK by Wesley.jpg

Photo by Wesley Karr

ANDY IS A TEACHER, AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER, 

who offers students profound and penetrating insights into dharma and mind. At an early age, he dreamed of becoming a Zen master—probably the result of reading Zen in the Art of Archery as a teenager, and watching too many samurai movies when he was in college. That led him to Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and the San Francisco Zen Center, to train under Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and subsequently to Boulder, Colorado, to train under Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Andy attended Trungpa Rinpoche’s three-month seminary in 1976. At seminary, intense periods of meditation practice alternated with intense periods of study. The message was clear: practice and study go together like the two wings of a bird. This become the guiding principle for his own journey. After moving to Paris in 1979, Andy co-founded the first Shambhala Centre in France. He taught regularly in Paris, and other European dharma centers, for the next ten years.

After Trungpa Rinpoche passed away in Nova Scotia in 1987, Andy and his family moved to Halifax. In 1993 he began studying Mahamudra, and the progressive stages of view and meditation, with Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, and later with other masters. He became a senior teacher in Khenpo Rinpoche’s sangha. He also taught at Gampo Abbey’s monastic college, and to the monastic community as a whole, including extended courses on Chandrakirti’s Introduction to the Middle Way and Shantarakshita’s Adornment of the Middle Way.

In the late 1990s, and early aughts, Andy realized a lifelong dream: learning fine-art photography from Michael Wood, founder of the Miksang contemplative photography program. This was an opportunity to bring together the Dharma Art teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche, the Mahamudra teachings of Khenpo Rinpoche, and Michael’s insights into photography as a contemplative practice.

Andy’s first book, Contemplating Reality, is a series of investigations into the nature of mind and the phenomenal world, published by Shambhala in 2007. Andy’s second book, written with Michael Wood, The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes, teaches the most essential photographic skill—clear seeing. It was released by Shambhala in 2011. His next book, Into the Mirror: A Buddhist Journey through Mind, Matter, and the Nature of Reality, presents ways that the Mahayana teachings can meet modernity, without losing their profundity. The book is due to be published by Shambhala in the Spring of 2023.

Nowadays, Andy mainly teaches the Mahayana view and meditation, and Mahamudra.