Two Arrows Zen–literally, a pair of arrows from opposite directions meeting in midair–started out with two people meeting in similarly extraordinary circumstances. In 1995, Diane Musho Hamilton, who had begun her Buddhist studies at Naropa University a dozen years earlier, met Michael Mugaku Zimmerman, Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court, where both were employed by the Utah Judiciary. Michael had first ventured into meditation following his wife's death in 1993, and at Diane's suggestion, he attended an introductory class at Kanzeon Zen Center in early 1997.
He knew he was onto something when his class leader said, "Buddhism, there is no hope" - which Michael interpreted as not clinging to the past or fearing the future, but instead living in the here and now. Michael found what he was searching for, and having found Diane as well, the two were married in 1998.
Michael had begun to study formally with Genpo Merzel Roshi who had developed audiences. Diane had studied Buddhadharma at Naropa Institute, and also began studying with Genpo Roshi. Roshi had developed the Big Mind process, a dialogic experience based on Voice Dialogue which helped to elicit the insights of Zen in Western audiences. Diane became a Big Mind facilitator. In 2003, she and Michael received Shukke Tokudo, ordaining in the Soto Zen lineage.
Diane received dharma transmission (Shiho) from Genpo Roshi in May of 2006, and Michael received transmission later that year in December. Diane and Michael began holding retreats at a place she and Michael purchased in Torrey, Utah. What started as a dusty tent in the wind-swept shadow of Boulder Mountain became Boulder Mountain Zendo, which they eventually renamed Torrey Zendo to eliminate confusion associated with the unrelated cities of Boulder, Colorado, and Boulder, Utah.
By 2010 Diane was expanding the program in Torrey while Michael was teaching Zen in the basement of their home when he wasn't working or traveling. Busy with Torrey as well as her own traveling and teaching, Diane suggested that they needed to have another zendo closer to their home in Salt Lake City.
Big Mind was generating a lot of interest in Salt Lake at the time, so they looked around and found a possible solution through a friend who happened to be president of Salt Lake City's Artspace -- an affordable living and working space for artists, cultural organizations and nonprofits. By the end of February 2011 they had raised some money, remodeled a portion of the building and opened the Artspace Zendo.
By 2014, both Diane and Michael were attracting students in Torrey, Salt Lake City and internationally and fundraising began in earnest to build a permanent zendo and bathhouse in Torrey. In the summer of 2014, volunteer-members funded and built an outdoor kitchen to support seasonal retreats. By March 2015, work began on the water lines and septic system; the groundbreaking for the Zendo and bathhouse took place in March 2016. The generous support of donors and Two Arrows Zen members completely funded the cost of the Torrey Zendo building project. The Torrey Zendo was dedicated in the fall of 2017 in a ceremony officiated by Genpo Roshi and attended by Roshis from France and the Netherlands, along with practitioners from all over the world.
The Torrey Zendo property continues to be beautified with landscaping and additional projects. A Social Building for dining and meeting space was completed in the spring of 2018. Future plans include an ancestor’s shrine and a temple bell and pergola on the property to complement the Zendo, and the dedication of the Tori Gate entrance honoring Ken Wilber.
Today, Two Arrows Zen has multiple meanings to its co-founders. Two people, two walks of life, two Sanghas, two zendos all coming together like two arrows meeting in midair.