Bushi Yamato Damashii
Bushi is a Buddhist monk and lead resident teacher at Daishin Zen Buddhist Temple in Thomasville, North Carolina. Bushi is also the Vice-president and Zen monk at Still Water Farms Retreat Center in Franklinville, NC. A former Christian minister and pastor, Bushi now speaks of much deeper understanding of the love and compassion of the Historical Jesus and the Historical Buddha. Bushi is classically trained in Mahayana Buddhism and Daishin Zen. Bushi is a native of West Palm Beach, Florida and educated abroad. He is a graduate of Myoshin-Ji Daishin Monastery in Kyoto, Japan and completed his 3-Year Retreat Residency Program at Daishin Zen Buddhist Temple in North Carolina. In his previous life he earned several degrees including a Master of Sacred Theology degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) from the University of Brighton, and postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. Also, a master martial artist, Bushi has black belts (Dans) in three Japanese originated arts: Aikido, Daito Ryu Aikijujitsu, and Iai (sword mastery). Bushi incorporates his mastery of these arts into his teaching of developing clarity of mind and balance when teaching mindfulness. He is married the Christine LeGrand Ramsey, and they have three sons: Aaron, Torrence, and Isaiah.

The Wisdom of Emptiness
Can a Believer meditate and understand a deeper sentiment of Jesus’s admonition to love others as one’s self? Can issues of race and inequality be solved through serious self examination? Zen monk, Bushi Yamato Damashii returns to WGF 2016 and shares the Wisdom of Emptiness. After spending over 20 years as a Christian minister, Bushi (Japanese translation, Warrior) sought a deeper understanding of the teachings of Jesus through the path of Buddhism. Understanding that the historical Jesus’ teachings regarding compassion and altruism were uniquely similar to the teachings of the Historical Buddha, he took his vows as a Buddhist monk and immersed himself into classical Buddhist study and self inquiry. “When I left the Church I took Jesus with me, and we both entered into the monastery,” says Bushi, to students of Wake Forest University’s Introduction to Religion course, spearheaded by Professor LeAnne Pace. Bushi shares his journey and life changing methods to religion students. The Wisdom of Emptiness, is a serious conversation on liberating oneself of the mental, religious, and social contaminations that devour and stagnate our abilities to be happy, socially altruistic, and compassionate beings. By understanding the true nature of our minds we become more clear of the causes of pain and suffering in our lives. By developing a practice of meditation and cessation discourses — we become free to love and care more easily. Bushi shares and teaches methods for being happy and truly compassionate amid a world of violence, hatred, inequality, and attachment. By sharing these methods, many across religious and spiritual lines have found a greater and more useful understanding to the Universal Law of Cause and Effective, and Compassion. The Wisdom of Emptiness points directly to the inner-self and helps to begin the process of becoming the change we wish to see in the world.