Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part Two (Episode 48)

Today’s episode is part two of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one.

“All words begin as silence,” proclaims Andō on her Patreon page.  Indeed, those five words provide an auspicious introduction to this enigmatic yet joyful contemplative Zen poet.

As a lay monastic, Andō has spent many years living a monastic life in the forest. In her own words, “Spending five years living quietly in the forest, I learnt the Zen of forest, mountain and river, studied the poetry of the wind.”

Above: Cassidy Hall, Andō. Below: Kevin Johnson, Carl McColman.

She says “I’m passionate about the poetry of Zen, Ch’an and Daoist traditions, in particular, haiku, monoku, renku, free verse and fragments.” She is writing a haiku memoir and will publish her first two poetry collections this year. Active on social media and through her own Patreon page, she shares her poetry which is luminous with both silence and light.

Originally from England, she now makes her home in Portugal, where she spoke to us via Skype.

Our deeply contemplative conversation continues with more insight into Andō’s singular spiritual journey, how illness impacted her life, her deep love for the Christian mystical classic The Cloud of Unknowing, and much more.

“The truest poetry is where we’re not the poet, we’re the vehicle for the poetry.” — Andō

She is the creator of the Small Silences poetry course: “a contemplative poetry course for those seeking to make space for silence and poetry in their lives. Small silences are contemplative moments of awareness, attention, insight and clarity, recorded as brief poems.” To learn more or to register for this course, click here:

To support Andō  via Patreon, click here:

Andō suggested that we might list information about her Zen masters here, which we are happy to do:

My first Zen Master, Daizan, under whom I trained as a meditation and mindfulness teacher, and was lay ordained into the Rinzai Zen tradition and lineage of Shinzan Miyamae Rōshi. Julian Daizan Skinner Rōshi’s website is Julian Daizan Skinner is the author of Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond and Practical Zen for Health, Wealth and Mindfulness.
My second Zen Master, Sokuzan, under whom I was lay ordained into the Sōtō Zen tradition and lineage of Kobun Chino Rōshi and Shunryu Suzuki Rōshi. Sokuzan’s website is Sokuzan is the author of A Meditation Primer.

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Episode 48: Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part 2
Hosted by: Carl McColman
Guest: Andō
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Date Recorded: December 17, 2018

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.