Where did you grow up? Saarbrücken, Germany.
When did you become a Buddhist and why? I took my refuge with Master Hsin Tao in 1983, because he encouraged me to do so. I am still a practicing Catholic, too.
What’s your daily practice? I sit for an hour in the middle of the night (that works best with my sleeping rhythm) or early in the morning, and I do meditative jogging.
Longest retreat? Three weeks straight, every spring in Taiwan.
What’s your favorite breakfast on retreat? In Taiwan, rice porridge and veggies; in Europe and the US, cereal with fruit.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without meditating? I don’t remember!
How do you get back on track? Just do it.
What non-Buddhist do you look to for guidance? Thomas Merton, Abraham Heschel, Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh, and Pope Francis.
What do you like to do in your free time? Walking in nature—a bit of a challenge in Dallas.
Book on your bedstand? Haruki Murakami’s Von Beruf Schriftsteller (“A Novelist by Profession”) and The Taste of Silence: How I Came To Be at Home with Myself by Bieke Vandekerkchove.
High school nickname? I was called Eule (German for “owl”), supposedly for wisdom.
What was your first job? Research assistant at the Hobogirin Institute in Kyoto.
Favorite aphorism? Que será, será.
Favorite musician? Bach.
Coffee or tea? Both.
Most used emoji? Smiley face.
What would you do if you weren’t a Buddhist teacher? I admire engineers and architects but was never that good in math.
Join Dr. Habito in November for her online teaching series “Embodying Compassion” at tricycle.org/dharmatalks
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.