Gary Gach

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Gach in 2009

Gary Gregory Gach (born November 30, 1947)[1] is an American author, translator, editor, teacher and poet living on Russian Hill, San Francisco. His work has been translated into several languages, and has appeared in several anthologies and numerous periodicals. He serves on the International Advisory Panel of the Buddhist Channel, a Malaysian Buddhist news website.[2] He currently hosts Haiku Corner for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.[3]


Gach was born to a Jewish family in Hollywood, Los Angeles in 1947. He was student body president of John Burroughs Junior High School. He claims to have had a mystic vision at the age of 6.[4] At 11, he read The Way of Zen by Alan Watts, beginning a lifelong interest in Buddhism.

He was formally introduced to meditation by Paul Reps and later studied Hasidic Judaism and Kabbalah, and was introduced to shikantaza by Dainin Katagiri Roshi.

He has worked as an actor, stevedore, typographer, legal secretary, editor-in-chief, webmaster, and teacher (most frequently of late, Stanford Continuing Studies). Besides Buddhism, he teaches haiku, and mentors in English composition (most recently for doctoral students at Sofia University (California).



  • 1974: Preparing the Ground : Poems 1960-1970 (Heirs, International; San Francisco)
  • 1996: The Pocket Guide to the Internet: No-Sweat Guide to the Information Highway (Pocket Books; New York) ISBN 0-671-56850-7
  • 1997: Every Writer's Essential Guide to Online Resources and Opportunities (Prima Publishing; Rocklin, New York) ISBN 0-7615-0641-1
  • 2001–2009: Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism (Alpha Books, New York) ISBN 0-02-864170-1; 2nd edition, 2004 - ISBN 1592572774; 3rd edition, 2009 - ISBN 1592579116.
  • 2018: Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation Is Not Enough (Sounds True, Colorado)



  • 1998: What Book!? : Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop, introduction by Peter Coyote (Parallax Press; Albany, California) ISBN 0-938077-92-9 (American Book Award) [6]


Gach is a recipient of an American Book Award (from the Before Columbus Foundation) in 1999 for What Book!?[7] Shortlisted for Northern California Book Award for Translation, for Songs for Tomorrow and finalist for Flowers of a Moment (Lannan Translations Selection). Nautilus Book Awards for Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism 3rd ed'n.

External links


  1. Johnson, Curt (ed.). Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors and Poets, 1988, December Press, 1988, ISBN 978-0-913204-21-4, p148
  2. "The Buddhist Channel website". Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  3. "Haiku Corner". 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  4. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
  5. "microreview". Boston Review. 
  6. "No Book — by Steven Robert Allen". Daily Alibi, August 16, 1999. 
  7. "American Book Awards" (PDF). Before Columbus Foundation. 


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Selected videos:

  • What is Nirvana? Gary Gach (Zen in America short)
    Description: When I met Gary for our interview at the San Francisco Zen Center he greeted me at the front of the building and asked if I might have a match. Gary Gach is author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buddhism, editor of What Book!? : Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop, and translator of three books by the Korean Buddhist poet Ko Un, SSN. His work has appeared in such magazines and anthologies as, BuddhaDharma, Sweeping Zen, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Inquiring Mind, Language for a New Century, The New Yorker, Shambhala Sun, Technicians of the Sacred, Tricycle, Veterans of War Veterans of Peace, Whole Earth Review, and Yoga Journal.

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