We asked our teachers five questions about them and their lives. Here is what Yuka responded:

1) If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self / what do you wish you’d known at the beginning when you started out on this path?

Progress happens neither through striving blindly or by simply following external rules of conduct, nor by adopting the one ‘true framework’ or tradition, but from the ability to truly connect to the innermost longing for freedom and happiness and to let it guide and inspire the whole practice. The more you can relax your mind and body, the more you learn to be in touch with this longing, to listen to it, and to trust its movement towards that which is wholesome and free.

2) What brings you joy? What makes you unhappy?

Joy arises when the mind is aware of wholesome qualities such as Metta, generosity, widsom… etc., when there is a sense of connection, of freedom, of beauty – both within myself and in the world around me. Joy arises when I reflect on the possibility of the mind to overcome all destructive habit patterns, to understand the nature of all experience and to be free.
Unhappiness arises when the mind is constricted, under the spell of unwholesome qualities.

3) If you weren’t teaching what career would you have liked to have?

Counsellor, psychotherapist

4) What one phrase or teaching do you come back to the most / have you found most useful? (Buddhist or not)

May I live and practice in such a way that it brings the greatest benefit to all beings.

5) Whats the most unusual place you’ve meditated or taught?

A Japanese Zen nunnery in Nagoya