Sensei Derek Fletcher

There are a lot of human conflicts and personal suffering in the world today. We all need healthy ways to prevent falling victims to this. For Sensei, it’s a love of reading, a fulfilling spiritual life, martial arts and plant-based eating. His mother instilled a deep thirst for reading in him at an early age. His favorite areas of reading include philosophy, religion, theoretical scientific thought, spirituality and Consciousness. He was raised in the Southern Baptist Christian tradition. Though he left the tradition in early adulthood he maintains a deep love and respect for Jesus. Sensei’s spiritual odyssey was driven by a deep curiosity about Consciousness. Ultimately, he found his “spiritual home” in Pure Land Buddhism. (a Chan/Mahayana tradition) Sensei is a lay disciple of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist order. Fo Guang Shan was founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun with an emphasis on what he calls “Humanistic Buddhism.”

Educationally, Sensei’s background is in speech communications, rhetoric and philosophy. He is a spiritual counselor and serves a diverse clientele. Sensei’s early thoughts were influenced by several western philosophical traditions. Among these influences: the ancient Greeks, Stoics, Existentialism and Transcendentalism (specifically Emerson & Thoreau). Cosmology, physics and phenomenology are other subjects of great interest to him. When it comes to fictional writing, he favors the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Sensei is also a published author. 

Though the West had captured his mind early on in life, his heart has always felt most at home with eastern traditions. Some of the eastern influences on his thinking include the writings of Yogananda, Vedanta philosophy, Miyomoto Musashi (the Japanese swordsmen), Lao Tzu (Chinese mystic, scholar & philosopher) and Sun Tzu (Chinese general, philosopher & strategist). The writings of Venerable Master Hsing Yun (founder of Fo Guang Shan) have a special place in Sensei’s personal library. The Buddha’s life and wisdom have had an exceptionally profound impact on Sensei. 

Sensei has been a life long martial artist. At age 11, he was introduced to meditation through martial arts training. He became a black belt in karate at age 19 and is one of several black belts in my family. Meditation, and martial arts, have remained essential components of his daily life. Nutritionally, Sensei follows a fully plant-based/vegan diet. (i.e. no eating any dairy products, fish or meat) His reasons for doing so are primarily spiritual, for the health benefits, the environment and its mind mastery value. No drugs or alcohol. Early to bed…early to rise. Sensei earned his B.A. Speech Communications from California State University, Long Beach.

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