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Myozen Joan Amaral

Myozen Joan Amaral is guiding teacher for the Marblehead Zen Center in Marblehead, MA, where she moved from San Francisco in March 2012. Joan began Zen practice in 1998, received priest ordination from Darlene Cohen in 2004, was head student at San Francisco Zen Center with Zenkei Blanche Hartman in 2009, and received dharma transmission from Zenkei in 2013. Her interest in zazen grew from a background in modern dance and she continues to study ways that movement and the cultivation of energy can support the practice of stillness. Joan trained at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for six years where she served as Ino (head of the meditation hall), Treasurer, Work Leader, and Shika (guest manager), among numerous other positions. While at San Francisco Zen Center, she formed the group Dharma en Español, devoted to studying Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginners Mind in Spanish (Mente Zen, Mente de Principiante), in order to provide the opportunity for native Spanish speakers to hear the dharma in their own language. Joan also led meditation classes at the S.F. County Jail and provided one-on-one spiritual counseling for prisoners. She is a graduate of the chaplaincy program at the Sati Center in Redwood City, CA, where she studied with Gil Fronsdal, Paul Haller, and Jennifer Block. As a priest living in the world, her primary focus is on the relationship between formal practice and urban life.