Melissa’s teaching is direct, compassionate and personal, whether she is giving instruction in basic breath concentration, shikantaza (just sitting) or koan practice. She offers private guidance in Zen meditation (dokusan) and gives Zen talks (teisho) at daily practice periods at Boundless Way Temple, day-long practice periods (zazenkai) and multi-day practice periods (sesshin and ango.)
In order to understand a spontaneous spiritual experience she had when she was nine years old, Melissa began a life-long exploration of religion and psychology.
In 1981 Melissa began studying Zen with the independent teacher Richard Clarke, a former student of Philip Kapleau, Roshi. After twenty years of study with Dr. Clarke she became the student of James Myoun Ford, Roshi, a dharma heir of Jiyu Kennett, Roshi and John Tarrant, Roshi. She was ordained a Soto Zen priest (unsui) in 2004 and completed shuso training in 2005. Advancing through the Harada-Yasutani koan curriculum she received Dharma transmission from James Ford in April of 2006, and was elected a guiding teacher of Boundless Way Zen. After hosting a Zen meditation group in their home for 20 years, Melissa and her husband David Dae An Rynick, Roshi founded Boundless Way Temple in 2009. Melissa received inka shomei from James Ford in July, 2010. She is the abbot of Boundless Way, and co-abbot of Boundless Way Temple.
Melissa is co-editor of THE BOOK OF MU, published by Wisdom Publications in April of 2011, and her writing appears in BEST BUDDHIST WRITING, 2012, published by Shambhala Publications and in THE HIDDEN LAMP, published by Wisdom in 2014. She has written for Shambhala Sun Magazine, and her writing appears in other books, a listing of which may be found here. She is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.