James rakusuJames Ishmael Ford is a Zen Buddhist priest and a Unitarian Universalist minister.

A Zen student and teacher for nearly fifty years, James was a co-founder of Boundless Way Zen, and served as its first school abbot. He continues to serve BoWZ as a member of its Guiding Teacher’s Council.

James is the author of a number of books, mostly addressing aspects of the Zen life. His most recent is If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break. He is married to Jan Seymour-Ford, also a long-time Zen practitioner. They live in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood of Long Beach, California.

Together with Chris Hoff, Jan & James lead the Blue Cliff Zen Sangha, which meets at the Long Beach Unitarian Universalist Church and at the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church in Costa Mesa.

He served as a parish minister with UU congregations for twenty-five years, before retiring in 2015. He is minister-emeritus at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, in Rhode Island. He is currently a community minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach.

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