Steven Barker (Nguyen Giac)

Upon formally engaging in the Five Precepts (Thich Nhat Hanh calls them the Five Mindfulness Trainings. Pali: pañcasīlāni; Sanskrit pañcaśīlāni[1]), under the guidance of Thich Minh Huu, I (Steven Barker) received the name Nguyễn Giác.

Here is what the name means:


The following is from this awesome Vietnamese / English Buddhist Dictionary.


1)      Visana (skt)—Cái sừng—A horn—A trumpet.

2)      Ngẫm nghĩ sơ qua (thô tư)  hay cảm giác—To sense—To apprehend—To be aware.

3)      Giác là sự nhận biết hay sự hiểu biết: Buddhi (p & skt)—Awareness, knowledge, or understanding.

4)      Giác là đã tỉnh thức, tỉnh ngộ hay giác ngộ, đối nghĩa với mê mờ, ngu dại và dốt nát—Buddha means awakened, awake, or enlightened, in contrast with silly and dull, stupid, and foolish (mudha).

5)      Bodhi or Buddhiboddhavya (skt)—Tiếng Phạn là Bồ Đề có nghĩa là giác sát hay giác ngộ. Giác có nghĩa là sự biết và cái có thể biết được—Bodhi from bodha, “knowing, understanding,” means enlightenment, illumination. Buddhiboddhavya also means knowing and knowable.

  1. a)Giác sát là nhận ra các chướng ngại phiền não gây hại cho thiện nghiệp: To realize, to perceive, or to apprehend illusions which are harmful to good deeds.
  2. b)Giác ngộ là nhận biết các chướng ngại che lấp trí tuệ hay các hôn ám của vô minh như giấc ngủ (như đang ngủ say chợt tỉnh): To enlighten or awaken in regard to the real in contrast to the seeming, as to awake from a deep sleep.

 In short.

Nguyễn Giác probably means something like:

Original Awareness.

Or, maybe:

Unbroken Understanding.

Or, maybe:

Bodhi Source.


Buddha Nature

I don’t speak Vietnamese 😦
But the name is wonderful!

Thich Minh Huu is one of my best friends and one of my favorite teachers!


He practices a beautiful combination of Zen and Pure Land Buddhism.

Here he is again, this time with his friends 🙂

Thich Minh Huu is on the right, in yellow.

Testimonials 🙂

Check out what some of my professors at Evergreen had to say about me.

Mukti Khanna

  • B.A., Human Biology, Stanford University,
  • 1983; Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 1989.

Steven is an engaged and intellectually capable human being. He is a thoughtful contributor to group conversations, making notable contributions by integrating theory, cultural awareness, and practice. He has demonstrated competence in peer counseling.  He is open and non-defensive about supervision.

Steven completed a multicultural autobiography project which consisted of family interviews in a dynamic film about cultural lineages in his family. His film was featured in a campus wide day of dialogue on intergenerational healing. Additionally, Steven created a film on community based learning that was featured in a regional conference.

Steven has skilfully co-facilitated 2 mindfulness based group experiences, drawing on his strong background in mindfulness practice. He demonstrated a growing understanding of group process and group dynamics.

Steven completed an internship in Buddhist Psychology at Chua LIen Hoa (the Lotus Temple), a local Vietnamese temple. He has gained valuable experience working cross-culturally and deepening in his study of Buddhism.

The academic work Steven did is strong. He has demonstrated breadth in individual counseling skill building, understanding the intersection of multiple identities, and understanding complex relationships among privilege, power and oppression. He has an excellent ability to examine multicultural issues from a multidimensional perspective.

Mukti Khanna

Douglas Schuler

  • B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1976;
  • B.A., Mathematics, Western Washington University, 1978;
  • M.S., Software Engineering, Seattle University, 1985;
  • M.S., Computer Science, University of Washington, 1996.

Steven is a good contributor and is always willing to ask questions and raise thought-provoking issues — some quite profound. At the same time, he is willing to listen to others. His writing is always clear and well-organized. His writing is crisp and coherent. He doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting his thoughts down. His ‘strange utopian’ paper, “Stefo Boanerges” (“Crowned Son of Thunder”), a combination mesage from the future and lyrical chant was an amazing tour de force that I can readily see published somewhere. His paper, “Thinking and Acting Tools: ICTs and Communities” addressed a variety of important issues including the role of Buddhism in the information age. Steven regularly goes beyond the required amount of work.

Douglas Schuler

Kevin Francis 

  • B.S. Biology & Philosophy, Reed College;
  • Ph.D. Graduate Studies, University of Minnesota

Steven studied ecological restoration, he conducted an extensive review of recent scholarship in this discipline. Eric Higgs’ Nature by Design was a central text that identified key debates among restoration ecologists. His 30 page research paper on this material demonstrated superb understanding of key positions, independent analysis of these positions, and sophisticated awareness of the cultural, ethical, and practical implications of these positions. His paper presented a cogent and well-supported argument for incorporating indigenous perspectives and practices into ecological restoration.


Kevin Francis

Nalini Nadkarni 

  • B.S., Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976 (with honors); Junior Year Transfer to University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 1974–75
  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle, College of Forest Resources, 1983
  • Honorary Ph.D., Brown University, 2014
  • Fundamentals of Ecology Course, Organization of Tropical Studies, Costa Rica, summer, 1979
  • Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, 1983–84

Steven is an extremely hard-working and engaged individual. He has a positive attitude toward learning and intense desire to take in all he can from his surroundings. He constantly asks questions and strives to understand. At times, his comments are surprising (e.g. religion and environmentalism), but his peers take in what he has to say with respect and understanding: they tend to look to him for insight.

Nalini Nadkarni