Daya Goldschlag was born and raised in the Bronx in a Russian-Hungarian-Italian Jewish family. When she was 19 years old she spent almost a year hitchhiking around Europe and the Middle East including Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Israel.
“It opened my culturally-sheltered eyes to see how differently people’s lives were lived and what beliefs they held. I realized international borders were basically artificial and that we were really all one people,” she said.
Shortly after returning, Goldschlag went to live and train at the San Francisco Zen Buddhist Center and its monastery, Tassajara. The abbot and head teacher at that time was Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (of “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind”). Goldschlag was lay ordained by him in 1971 and he has remained a powerful influence on how she tries to live her life, she said.
“Suzuki Roshi always emphasized Zen practice (even enlightenment) was ‘nothing special’ and is essentially to ‘just be yourself.’ I have taken this to mean that one must make every effort to be present without making much ado about it. Through that effort arises a sense of humor about the joys and suffering in life, compassion toward yourself and others, and the understanding of the interdependence of all sentient beings,” Goldschlag said.
She was trained by Dr. Milton Trager in therapeutic bodywork. Goldschlag maintains a private practice in integrative bodywork in Spokane. Once a week she leads a Zen meditation and study group and has helped lead retreats at Tassajara. She currently offers half-day meditation retreats three or four times a year in Spokane. Goldschlag lives in Tum Tum with her husband Ted. They have four grown children.
Goldschlag writes about everyday activities, responses, questions and observations from a Zen perspective.
“I hope to grow from this dialogue with you,” she said.