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All donations support David in his work to end suffering.

D.J. McKay

David McKay entered a Zen Buddhist monastery at the age of twenty-nine. He spent the next eighteen years training there in silence. Over time he became a skilled facilitator and counselor, offering retreats and workshops at the monastery and across the country. David left the monastery in the fall of 2014 to further explore life and practice back in the world. He currently offers support for practice from his home in Colorado.

About D.J. McKay

Hello. My name is David. This website is my offering to a confused and troubled world. 


When I was twenty-nine I entered a Zen Buddhist monastery in California. I wished to end the angst and sorrow that robbed me of a happy life; I hoped to learn how to access the peace, perhaps even the joy, that I had once known but had somehow lost. I lived and trained at the monastery for the next eighteen years. During that time I learned how to love myself and others, how to let go of the suffering that imprisoned me, how to follow the guidance of Life, and the other essentials of a happy adventure on this earth. I learned how to truly live—a gift for which I am profoundly grateful.

In the middle of September, 2014, I left the monastery to take the next step forward in my life and practice. It had become clear over time that I needed new challenges and new opportunities in order to continue to grow as a human being. I did not know what would become of me in the world beyond the monastery gates, but I hoped I might be useful. I expected to live a quiet and humble life, as I still do, and I longed to do a bit of good.


I have found that, in general, people are not happy in the world beyond the monastery gates. This was not a surprise, of course, but it has moved me to see what this means in the context of people’s lives. Some suffer overtly and hideously, but most do not. Most suffer in a way that is invisible, to others and even to themselves. I have seen that people suffer because they simply don’t know how to be happy: people are not aware of how they are unhappy and the simple but profound choices that become available as soon as they understand how suffering is caused. 


I do not claim to have any special insight or abnormal clarity—far from it. I am a regular human with typical human challenges; I struggle just like everyone else and expect to continue in this way until I die. I am in possession of a technology, however, that it appears very few people have grasped. I know how to look inside to see how I cause myself to suffer, and how to end suffering. I know how to hold myself in unconditional love through all the inevitable pain of life. I know how to practice happiness even in this troubled world.


I offer this website in the hopes that the information and experience I have will reach some of those who need it. It contains several things that may be helpful. One of these is a blog, in which I report on the things I am seeing and learning as I apply spiritual practice to life in the world. Another is a book that tells the story of my life at the monastery, including many of the teachings I received and the ways in which I received them. This book is entitled The One Open Door. You will also find a page that lists the supports I am offering to others who, like me, are practicing in the world. These include workshops, one on one counselling or coaching sessions, a Tuesday evening meditation and discussion, and a way to meditate remotely with me on a daily basis. 


Blessings to you, whoever you may be. May you have good fortune on your journey.
David