stage, we are just looking at a list here. A few articles
are linked to it and, hopefully, more will be added in the
future. These are seldom of the "I went here and I did
that" type; rather, the biographical details are usually
embedded in articles that I hope have greater significance.
Birth and Infancy: I was
actually a twin, but unfortunately my twin miscarried before we
were born. You can read more about that in the article
'Ancestral Shrine'" on my site The
Temple Guy. I was born "puny" (as my father so
aptly describes it), and couldn't really keep up physically with
my older brothers.
Much of my time I spent alone.
caused me to become somewhat introspective. Being
both solitary and somewhat precocious, I ended up with a couple of
When the time came I was a voracious reader, but a poor
student. I remember elementary school mostly as a time of
recurring illness and academic mediocrity--not a very happy time.
In junior high I blossomed somewhat. A turning point
was the arrival at my church of my first real "spiritual
mentor," The Rev. Richard H. Thom (Epioscopal). More
significantly, his son Davis was my best friend, and I became
"part of the family." Fr. Thom taught our
confirmation, and David and I were confirmed together.
This was the first time that I felt I might have a
While in junior high, I also had my
tonsils out, a story also told in the "My
'Ancestral Shrine'" article.
Junior high and high school were a time
of generally getting physically stronger. I played trombone
in the marching band for six years, and at 16 I became an Explorer
with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Also while in high school, I stumbled on
some information on my family heritage, a story that I will tell
in some detail later.
I turned 18 in Mexico with
my great-uncle Uncle Jim (after whom I was named) and his wife Anne;
her birthday was the same as mine, his the day before. We
had a great party, and ended up hunting grunions on the beach; I
was having one of my phases of pre-vegetarianism (I have now been
a veg for over 12 years) and would catch the grunions--only to release
In late 1974 I moved to
Seattle with my brother, where I stayed for about six months.
Around 1975 I met the men
of the Canyon House, a Christian community in Sierra
Madre. I was associated with tem through my college years,
until my marriage in 1981. They contributed deeply to my
spiritual formation as I became a Bible teacher in their midst.
I went to Pasadena City
College for four years (yes, it's a two-year school). Then
on to Cal State L.A., where I majored in philosophy and English
and took an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. Religion
was never far from my mind, as I also worked at Ascension
Episcopal Church in Sierra Madre part of this time (among many
I met my (first) wife
Norma in 1981, and we were married later that year. I
graduated from university between meeting her and getting
married; all this progress brought on an attack of "Sudden adulthood."
We moved to Simi Valley at the end of that year, where I stayed
until around 1994.
Also in 1981 (a big
year!) I started working at Chaminade College Preparatory in
Canoga Park (now West Hills), CA, where I taught high school English, biology, and history.
I started work on a Masters in English at Cal State, and was
part-time youth minister at Rosemead United Methodist
Church. While at Chaminade, I became the Dean of
Students. I quit working on the Masters in English, and
completed a Master of Education at Loyola Marymount University.
When I left Chaminade at
the end of the 1983-84 school year, I began attending Moorpark
College, concentrating on math and science. I had decided
that biology was more fun to teach than English!
While studying at
Moorpark, in January 1985 I was called as principal of St. Martin
in the Fields Elementary School in Canoga Park. During my tenure
as principal, I also attended weekend seminary for two years at
Bloy House (Bloy Episcopal School of Theology) in Claremont, CA.
I went to work at
Campbell Hall School in 1988, where I taught English for five
years and government for one. I also taught occasional courses in photography and interdisciplinary
From 1989-1992 I was a
part-time staff writer and occasional teacher, for the West Coast
Office of The Johns Hopkins University Center for the Advancement of Academically Talented Youth
(CTY) in Glendale, CA
When I left Campbell
Hall in 1994, I became a tutor of various subjects, as well as a photographer selling art at outdoor Arts and Crafts fairs
From 1995-1996 I was a
private live-in teacher and tutor to the children of actor Robert
Urich, and later I served as Robert's "personal assistant"
(meaning I mostly hung around and chatted with him while he was
filming "The Lazarus Man)
In 1997 I moved to
Japan, where I worked for the Aeon Corporation in Tokyo until
2001. My time in Japan was a tremendous waking up; I
completed several major Buddhist pilgrimages and visited
hundreds of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. My stay
culminated in completion of a 188-temple pilgrimage, as well as a 500-kilometer walk along a historic highway.
In 2002-2003 I completed
the coursework for PhD in comparative religions at Hsi Lai University (now University of the
West) in Rosemead, CA. In 2003, I also completed Level 1 of
Chinese language study at Pasadena City College.
During my 2+ years back
in the states I worked for several commercial language schools,
including FLS International at Citrus College, Glendora, CA;
Olympia Education Center in Temple City; and Cal-America Education Institute in
Koreatown, Los Angeles. I was delighted to be teaching
students from Japan, Korea, Thailand, China, and other
countries; it helped me to keep my sanity in post-9/11 (Bush's)
I also worked as a tour guide and English-language materials developer; editor in International Translation Center;
and ESL and American culture teacher for monastics at Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, CA.
This was the perfect complement to my studies at Hsi Lai
Since 2004 I have been
living in Shenzhen, China, where I teach English in a polytechnic
college and sponsor workshops, tours, parties, etc., through my Laughing
Buddha organization. You can read a little about my
reasons for being here in my essay Round
In 2005 I met my
girlfriend Lila; we are now joined at the hip. Through her,
I have come to know the wonders of the Philippines. One reason
for this website is to help develop a modest income so that we can
eventually settle in the Philippines, where, although the cost of
living is low, so is the income!
(C) 2006 James Baquet..