Barbara O'Brien

Barbara O'Brien


Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien is a journalist and student of Zen Buddhism who writes about religion in America and how it impacts politics and culture. O'Brien began her formal study of Buddhism in 1988 when she was accepted as a lay student of Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, New York. In the years since then, she has been actively engaged in meeting Buddhists from other traditions and learning about the many forms of Buddhism.

More recently, O'Brien practiced at the Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, New York, as well as the Zen Center of New York City. O'Brien spent more than eight years writing about Buddhism and other religious-themed topics for ThoughtCo. Additionally, she has written extensively about religion in America and how it impacts politics and culture on her personal blog, Rethinking Religion, which focuses on Buddhism and religion in general.


Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri.


Barbara Hoetsu O'Brien is the author of "Rethinking Religion: Finding a Place for Religion in a Modern, Tolerant, Progressive, Peaceful and Science-Affirming World." In addition, O'Brien's articles include:

O'Brien is also listed in the online Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia.

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