Kirk was first introduced to Zen in his university years when he began practicing with fellow students in an apartment near campus. Throughout his 20s Kirk continued to practice Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, and martial arts. He also sat with the Society of Friends (Quakers). In 1993, inspired by Robert Aitken Roshi’s embrace of both social justice and strong realisation, Kirk joined the Diamond Sangha, and began formal koan study in San Francisco with Joseph Bobrow Roshi. In 1997 Kirk moved to Australia, and upon the advice of Aitken Roshi, joined the Melbourne Zen Group.
After 16 years of Zen study with Susan Murphy Roshi, Kirk formally took jukai with her. In 2016, Susan appointed Kirk as her apprentice teacher in the Diamond Sangha Zen lineage. Kirk has also studied Zen with Subhana Barzaghi Roshi, Nelson Foster Roshi, and Ross Bolleter Roshi.
Kirk and his wife Sharon are parents of three children. Kirk has a background as a musician, schoolteacher, workshop facilitator and executive coach. He is the founder of two alternative schools, and currently works as a leadership and innovation specialist with schools and organisations around Australia and the Asia Pacific region.