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julesprast_2017_250x250Jules Prast (1961) is a Dutch historian, author, Zen Buddhist and sarcoidosis patient. Before his early retirement for health reasons he worked as a journalist, lecturer, speechwriter, press officer and corporate communications executive.

This website is organized around four themes, Zen & Buddhism, Life with sarcoidosis, Media history and Corporate Communications; it consists of biographical information, blogs, other publications and interviews, as well as sources and literature (where applicable). With a few exceptions the language used on this website is Dutch; however, with the use of the Google Translate menu on each page most of the website is readable in the language of your choice.

Biographical information
Jules went to university in Amsterdam and graduated in 1988 with a master’s
degrees in modern history and in mass communication. He specialised in Dutch media history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While at university he interrupted his studies for a year to work as a journalist for a Dutch business weekly.

After university he fulfilled his military service in 1988-1989 in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. As a second lieutenant he served on the faculty of the officers school, teaching about NATO and defence policy and about the history of international relations.

Subsequently he was employed by the Ministry of Finance, first assisting with public information campaigns and later working as a press officer and a speechwriter. In 1994 he was hired by ABN AMRO Bank as a vice president and global head of media relations. In the year 2000 he moved on to become an executive vice president and global head of communications with Royal Philips Electronics. During his time at Philips Jules qualified as a certified executive coach after training with the Academy of Executive Coaching in London.

Back to writing
After being diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare chronic inflammatory disease, Jules’ active career came to an abrupt end in 2008.

For a while he struggled to adapt to lasting physical limitations until he finally resolved to build on the foundations of his earlier experience as a journalist. He managed to reinvent himself as an author, writing for his blog and from 2012 until 2016 for the magazine of the sarcoidosis society of the Netherlands.

In 2007 Jules started training as a Zen practitioner; in 2013 he took his lay Buddhist vows and received his new name, Taigu (Japanese for ‘Great Fool’). Under this name he writes articles about Zen, Pure Land and other Buddhist traditions for his blog and columns for a Buddhist daily web journal with readers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

In 2018 he published a book about the nineteenth century history of ‘De Standaard’, an influential protestant daily and the first party political newspaper of the Netherlands, which existed from 1872 until 1943.

Please click here for a selection of Jules’ publications in English and Dutch.

To contact Jules, please click here.

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