Fred Eppsteiner, a Dharma teacher in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh, has been a student of Buddhism and a practitioner of meditation for over fifty years and has devoted himself to teaching the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) since 1996. Although Fred has practiced primarily in the Zen and Tibetan Buddhist lineages, he bases his teachings on the full breadth of Buddhist philosophical, psychological and meditative traditions.
Fred began his Zen practice in the late 1960s at the Rochester Zen Center in upstate New York with Roshi Philip Kapleau, the first Japanese-trained Westerner to establish a Zen center in the United States and the author of “The Three Pillars of Zen.” In the mid-1970s, Fred developed a close relationship with Thich Nhat Hanh, who has become one of the most widely known, beloved and respected meditation teachers and authors in the West today. Fred became a member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing in 1983 and received Dharma Transmission and permission to teach from Thich Nhat Hanh in 1994.
Fred also has a long-standing relationship with the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. While on pilgrimage in India in 1975, he met Dzongnar Rinpoche, a profound and accomplished Dharma practitioner in the Tibetan Palyul Nyingma lineage. Over an eighteen month period, Fred received oral teachings and meditation instructions in the Dzogchen (Great Perfection) tradition. As well, Fred has received teachings from other modern masters of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Fred is the editor of two books on Buddhism: “The Path of Compassion: Writings on Socially Engaged Buddhism” and “Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism.” Many of Fred’s teachings have been recorded and are available in the Dharma Talks included on this website.
Before moving to the Tampa Bay area in 2005, Fred lived in Naples, Florida, where he practiced psychotherapy and founded the Naples Community of Mindfulness in 1998. Fred’s experience as a psychotherapist helps him to understand how to apply Buddhist psychology, mindfulness teachings, and meditation practices to the everyday lives of American practitioners. Fred lives happily with Angie Parrish in Tampa, Florida. He has two grown children, Ty and Karuna, and three young grandchildren. Fred’s 101 year old mother, Ruth, is a Dharma practitioner and an active member of the FCM community.
In addition to his regular Dharma talks for FCM’s meditation groups in Tampa and Naples, Florida, Fred has an active life leading intensive study and practice periods, days of mindfulness, giving private interviews and leading multi-day group and solitary retreats for his students as described in the Programs section of this website . He maintains relationships with his students throughout Florida, North and South Carolina, and other parts of the US and Canada.