The following list includes upcoming guest teachers and lecturers, as well as those who have taught or offered dharma talks at City Center within the last 12 months.
Dainin Marsha Angus Dainin Marsha Angus received Jukai in 1979, was shuso at City Center in 2007 and was given Lay Entrustment by Dairyu Michael Wenger in 2010. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Mill Valley since 1975. She leads three meditation groups in the Bay Area.
Paula K. Arai, PhD Paula Arai, author of Women Living Zen: Japanese Buddhist Nuns (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Buddhist Women’s Rituals (University of Hawaii Press, 2011), received her PhD in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University. Her current project, Liberating Compassion: The Art & Science of the Heart Sutra, includes a book, workshops, public presentations, and exhibitions of paintings by a Japanese contemplative scientist that encodes Buddhist metaphysics into scientific and everyday images. (More...)
Keith Baker Keith Baker has been practicing Zen for 17 years, and began practice at Zen Center 10 years ago. Ordained by Ryushin Paul Haller, he has practiced at Tassajara and City Center and held various temple positions. He is currently working in the Reservations Finance Department and is serving as the fall 2013 shuso at City Center. Keith crossed over from hard of hearing to profoundly deaf in 2009, and is exploring the integration of Deafness, Deaf culture, and Zen practice.
Dr. Pawan Bareja Pawan Bareja, PhD, has practiced Vipassana meditation for over 10 years. She is a Somatic Experiencing (SE) Trauma Resolution Practitioner and a Buddhist Ritual Minister, and has assisted several daylongs at Spirit Rock, including the annual “Care Providers” daylong. She is a graduate from Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program. In her private practice, she works with symptoms of stress, anxiety and trauma in a diverse population of clients. She uses trauma resolution techniques and mindfulness meditation to help her clients find ease in their daily lives. She teaches classes on mindfulness and trauma in the Castro district in San Francisco.
Carl Bielefeldt Carl Bielefeldt, professor emeritus of religious studies at Stanford, studied Zen under Shunryu Suzuki and Kosho Uchiyama, and received his PhD in Buddhist studies from Berkeley in 1980. He is the author of Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation and other works on early Japanese Zen, and serves as an editor of the Soto Zen Text Project, which provides annotated English translations of the scriptures of Japanese Soto Zen.
Jennifer Block Jennifer Block is an Interfaith minister and Buddhist chaplain who has practiced Zen, Insight Meditation, and Yoga since 1988. Her life’s work is providing spiritual care to people in crisis, mentoring caregivers, and teaching people how to access their innate capacity for caring and healing.
Dharmavidya David Brazier, PhD Dr David Brazier has studied Theravada, Tibetan, Zen and Pure Land Buddhism over five decades. He is now head of the Amida Order, a Pure Land Buddhist sangha, and President of the International Zen Therapy Institute. He is an authority on Buddhist psychology, especially as presented in the Abhidharma, and lectures to sanghas of many denominations throughout West Europe, annually in Korea, and periodically in North and South America, Japan and India. He is the author of 10 published books on Buddhism, psychology, culture and poetry. In his past career he has been a psychotherapist and a social and community worker and has founded projects in the fields of education and physical and mental health in several countries. He is English, lives in France and travels widely.
David Bullard, PhD David has had a psychotherapy practice in San Francisco with individuals and couples for over 35 years, and enjoys writing and providing workshops about couples and intimacy for other therapists and health professionals. He is grateful for having had the opportunity of learning about Tibetan Buddhism from Robert Thurman , and about the poetry of life from David Whyte. He is clinical professor in medicine and medical psychology (psychiatry) at UCSF.
Renshin Bunce Renshin Bunce was a resident of Zen Center from 2001 to 2008, first for three years at Tassajara and then for four more years at City Center. She has helped hundreds of students sew their rakusus in the City Center sewing room, where she currently leads a class every other Saturday afternoon. She is also known for her photographs, and her page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/renshin/ has been called “The Zen Center Yearbook.” Renshin was priest ordained with Zenkei Blanche Hartman in 2003; was shuso with Myogen-Roshi at Tassajara in 2008; and received dharma transmission from him in 2013. She lives on the Peninsula, where she works as a hospice chaplain.
Ryuko Laura Burges Laura Burges, a Lay Entrusted Buddhist Teacher, lectures and leads retreats at different practice centers in Northern California. A teacher of children for 30 years, her work has been featured on PBS in the documentary The Digital Divide and in the book Teach Our Children Well. She co-founded the Sangha in Recovery program at San Francisco Zen Center.
Fugan Eugene Bush, D.D. Fugan Eugene Bush, DD, began formal practice in 1982 and received Dharma transmission from Katherine Thanas in 2010. Gene currently serves as the Administrator of Santa Cruz Zen Center. He also teaches the traditional practice of sewing Buddha’s Robe (rakusu and okesa). His paid work is as teacher in a public alternative high school in Santa Cruz, California. He is most interested in the ways in which formal practice trains us for everyday life.
Hobu Beata Chapman Hobu Beata Chapman has practiced Zen with chronic nerve pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for 23 years. She studied with Katherine Thanas at Santa Cruz Zen Center and with Darlene Cohen until her untimely death, and received Dharma transmission from Tony Patchell in 2013. Beata continues the Suffering & Delight groups for people with chronic pain that Darlene founded nearly 20 years ago, and teaches an online S&D group she began for people not able to attend in person. [more]
Patsy Creedy Patsy Creedy, Kanshin Kokai, was lay ordained by Linda Ruth Cutts in 2010. She has been a labor and delivery nurse at UCSF for 25 years. She has two grown children and is pursuing her MA in creative writing at San Francisco State University. Patsy co-leads the Meditation and Recovery program at Zen Center. Patsy sees the bond between mothers as a powerful spiritual connection, and motherhood as a way to deeply open ourselves to practice.
Junsei Jana Drakka Gengestu Junsei, Jana Drakka runs a "street ministry"—popularly known as "The Zendo Without Walls"—taking the Dharma teachings of lovingkindness and total acceptance out of the temples and into the streets. Teaching in shelters, hospices and low-income hotels offers the possibility of peace of mind to all without exception. Junsei travels widely sharing "Harm Reduction Meditation" in universities, Zen centers, hospitals and shelters. Jana is a dharma heir of Zenkei Blanche Hartman.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Senior Dharma Teacher) Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen Buddhist priest. For many years he has taught at the San Francisco Zen Center, the oldest and largest of the new Buddhist organizations in the West, where he served as co-Abbot from 1995-2000. He is currently a Senior Dharma Teacher there as well as the founder and spiritual director of the Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization dedicated to adapting Zen Buddhist teachings to Western culture.
Issho Fujita Issho Fujita was born in Japan in 1954. He studied developmental/clinical psychology at Tokyo University. When he was a PhD student, at the age of 27, he attended a week-long Zen sesshin at Enkaku-ji, a traditional Rinzai monastery in Kamakura. Eventually he dropped out of graduate school to study Zen full time and entered Antai-ji, a Soto Zen monastery. In 2010, he was assigned to be Director of Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. Issho is interested in inventing new and fun ways to articulate the depth of the simple practice of shikantaza (just sitting).
Shahara Godfrey Shahara Godfrey has followed the teachings of the Buddha since 1989, with her primary practices in Compassion and Social Activism. She has completed the Community Dharma Leadership Program and the Path of Engagement programs at Spirit Rock, and received her Ph.D. in Humanities with a focus on Transformative Learning and Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Lopon Rita M. Gross Lopon Rita M. Gross, PhD, is internationally known for her innovative work on gender and religion. She is also a Buddhist Dharma teacher, having been appointed to that position by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche. Rita Gross gives original engaging talks on a wide variety of topics and can lead meditation retreats of varying lengths. She specializes in bringing together the values and perspective of academic research and Buddhist Dharma teachings.
Jisho Lisa Hoffman Jisho Lisa Hoffman was priest ordained by the late Surei Darlene Cohen at San Francisco Zen Center, and received dharma transmission from Meiji Tony Patchell in August 2013 at the Russian River Zendo. Lisa's passion is bringing the Buddhist teachings, meditation and mindfulness into the world in a way that’s easy and useful for people to integrate into their everyday lives. She does this as a priest and as a nonprofit coach and consultant.
Mushim Ikeda Mushim (Patricia Y. Ikeda) is a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center. Her Buddhist training has included both monastic and lay experience in North America and Asia since 1982. She has served on the interfaith panel of UC Berkeley-Extension’s symposium on grief and loss for several years, and has been exploring death and dying through publishing a series of memoir pieces for a book-in-progress titled Elegy with Blue Shirt, Tie and Gun.
Pico Iyer Pico Iyer is the author of 10 works of nonfiction, on subjects ranging from globalism to Graham Greene, as well as novels on the Cuban Revolution and Islamic mysticism. He has also written liner-notes for many Leonard Cohen albums, a script for Miramax and the introductions to more than 50 books, among them Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard and Huston Smith’s first auto-biography, Tales of Wonder. For the past 22 years he’s been based in a two-room apartment in rural Japan, while traveling everywhere from Tibet to North Korea, and Yemen to Easter Island. More about Pico Iyer on prhspeakers.com.
Ryotan Cynthia Kear Ryotan Cynthia Kear has been practicing Soto Zen Buddhism for over 25 years. She received Dharma Transmission from Darlene Cohen in 2010. In 2004, she founded the Wild Geese Sangha, which explores daily practice in the non-monastic world. She leads the Upstairs Sangha, a group which meets bi-monthly to sit and study, and she co-leads a sangha for meditation and recovery.
Daijaku Judith Kinst Daijaku Judith Kinst, PhD, is a core faculty member and professor of Buddhism and Psychology at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, an affiliate of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and Ryukoku University in Kyoto Japan, and the director of their Buddhist Chaplaincy graduate program. After priest training at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara, she completed an MA in Western Psychology, MFT licensure, and a PhD in Buddhism and Psychology.
Tim Kroll Tim began practice in 2000 at the Chapel Hill Zen Center (North Carolina). He has spent much of the last seven years in residence at San Francisco Zen Center, both at Tassajara and City Center. He is currently completing a four-year master's program in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is co-leader of the Young Urban Zen Community at City Center. In his spare time he enjoys surfing at Ocean Beach or in Bolinas.
Myo Denis Lahey Rev. Myo Denis Lahey is the Abbot at Issan-ji (Hartford Street Zen Center) as well as Practice Leader at Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, California, and has previously served as head of practice (Tanto) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. A Dharma heir of Tenshin Reb Anderson, he serves as Treasurer for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of North America (SZBA) and is a member of the Association for Soto Zen Buddhism of Japan (ASZB). Raised in an observant Roman Catholic home, Myo was drawn to religion and spirituality at an early age and found Zen Buddhism in his teens. He began sitting in 1969 and practiced with many San Francisco Zen Center practitioners and teachers, including Dainin Katigiri-roshi, Kobun Chino-sensei, Yoshimura-sensei, and Issan Dorsey. Myo studied Sanskrit at UC Berkeley for ten years.
Taigen Dan Leighton Taigen Dan Leighton is Dharma Teacher of the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate temple in Chicago. He is a priest and Dharma successor in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, having received transmission in 2000 from Tenshin Reb Anderson. Taigen is the co-translator and editor of several Zen texts, including Dogen's Extensive Record, and he is the author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry; Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression; and Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra. He teaches online at the Institute of Buddhist Studies of the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, where he received a PhD.
Ivory Madison Ivory Madison is an author, editor and publisher who lives conveniently close to the San Francisco Zen Center. She was named “Best Writing Coach” by San Francisco magazine for her work helping countless writers unleash their stories. She founded and served as CEO of the Red Room Writers Society, and later Red Room, an international community for thousands of authors. An expert on writing, Ivory has delivered keynote addresses at programs including the Stanford Writers Conference and the Independent Book Publishers Association. A former management consultant to startups and Fortune 500 companies, she also holds a juris doctorate. She is the only author to have been published by both the Harvard Business Review and DC Comics. A former member of the Litquake Committee, she recently joined the leadership team of the Bay Area Book Festival and cofounded a small press. She believes that everyone is entitled to tell their story.
Dr. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Rev. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, author, visual artist, drummer and Zen Buddhist priest, is the guiding teacher of Still Breathing Meditation Center in East Oakland, CA. She was ordained with Zenkei Blanche Hartman and is under the training of Kiku Christina Lehnherr, a former abbess of the San Franscisco Zen Center. Zenju was shuso/head student for the Fall 2012 Practice Period at City Center, which was led by Christina Lehnherr. She is the author or coauthor of several books. For more information, see the full bio, or go to zenju.org.
Reigetsu Susan Moon Susan Moon is a Soto Zen lay teacher and is the author of four books, including This Is Getting Old. Her most recent book is Record of the Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women.
John Nelson, PhD John Nelson is professor of East Asian religions in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of San Francisco. He received his PhD in cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley, and has researched Japanese religions, religion and society, and globalization throughout his career. He also serves as academic director for the master’s program in Asia-Pacific studies, and was the founder of the Asian studies undergraduate program at USF. His areas of specialization are East Asian religions, contemporary Buddhism, cultural anthropology, globalization, secularism, and Asian studies. He has just published Experimental Buddhism: Innovation and Activism in Contemporary Japan (University of Hawaii Press, 2013).
Shohaku Okumura Rev. Shohaku Okumura is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, located in Bloomington, Indiana. For more information about Shohaku Okumura, please visit the website of Sanshin Zen Community: http://www.sanshinji.org.
Rev. Okumura is one of the world's foremost teachers on Dogen's practice and philosophy.
Samantha Ostergaard Samantha Ostergaard is a Zen student and yoga teacher who has used yoga to support her zazen practice for almost fifteen years. Her teaching of yoga is deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism, and in her retreats she teaches yoga as a meditative practice of paying close attention to the body, the breath, and the mental and emotional processes. Samantha lived and practiced at Tassajara for three years, receiving lay ordination from Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 2000.
Nancy Petrin Nancy Petrin began Zen practice in 1996 through the Organic Farm and Garden Apprenticeship at Green Gulch Farm, where she lived and practiced for nine years. She is currently residing at SFZC’s City Center, serving as head student (shuso) with City Center Abiding Abbot Ed Sattizahn.
Korin Charlie Pokorny Korin Charlie Pokorny was ordained as a priest by Reb Anderson in 1999. He practiced as a resident at Tassajara and Green Gulch Farm for 12 years, including serving as tenzo and director at Tassajara. He holds a master’s degree from Stanford University in Religious Studies, and he has brought a breadth of perspective on the direction that Soto Zen is taking in the world today through his recent position as director of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.
Narcissus Robert Quagliata Narcissus Quagliata is an internationally renowned glass artist and painter, famous for designing glassworks at Yerba Buena Gardens, Grace Cathedral and the beautiful Central Train Station in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The first subjects in glass Narcissus ever represented were the gassho hands of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Dainin Katigiri Roshi in the swinging doors between the kitchen and the dining hall at City Center. Narcissus knew since childhood that his field of interest was the field of art—and the mystery of how art manifests itself—and he spent valued time at City Center in the late 1960s, growing in his understanding of life, the broader universe and himself. Suzuki Roshi asked him to become the first director of the Zen Center building at 300 Page Street.
Erica Reischer, PhD Dr. Erica Reischer is a psychologist who specializes in working with parents and families. She is the author of the forthcoming book What Great Parents Do: The small Book of BIG Parenting Ideas. In addition to her private practice in Oakland, California, she writes for Psychology Today and The New York Times, and sits on the Advisory Board for HappyHealthyKids.com. Dr. Reischer also teaches parenting classes at University of California, Habitot Children's Museum, and UCSF Benioff / Children's Hospital. More info at www.DrEricaR.com.
Rev. Shinshu Roberts is the co-founder (with Daijaku Kinst) of the Ocean Gate Zen Center located in Capitola, CA. She also teaches a monthly Dogen seminar at City Center in San Francisco. Shinshu was ordained in 1988 and trained for 17 years (4 at Tassajara) at the San Francisco Zen Center holding various leadership positions during that time.
Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider is a priest at Zen Center, where he has lived, worked and practiced since 1978. The founder of the Zen Center recovery programs, he is currently the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.
Hozan Alan Senauke Hozan Alan Senauke, Vice-Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, is a Soto Zen priest, writer, musician and activist honored as a pioneer of socially engaged Buddhism. Alan was executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. In 2007 he founded the Clear View Project, focusing on social change and training in Asia, particularly in Burma and among India’s Dalit Buddhists. Alan’s engaged Buddhist books and music CDs are available at www.clearviewproduct.com.
Myogen Kathryn Stark Myogen Kathryn Stark, MA, MDiv, has been practicing in the Soto Zen tradition since 1990. She received priest ordination in 2003 and completed dharma transmission in 2013 with Shosan Victoria Austin, a dharma teacher at San Francisco Zen Center. She holds master of arts and master of divinity degrees in Buddhist studies with a specialty in Buddhist chaplaincy from the Graduate Theological Union and Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. She currently works as an interfaith hospice chaplain in the Marin and Sonoma areas.
Teah Strozer Teah Strozer is a dharma heir in Suzuki Roshi's lineage. She is a practice leader and member of the Elders Council at the San Francisco Zen Center. Until recently she taught meditation and ethics at the Bay School high school as the school's Chaplain. She is the Guiding Teacher at the Brooklyn Zen Center.
Hoitsu Suzuki Hoitsu Suzuki is the son of San Francisco Zen Center's founding teacher, Shunryu Suzuki. He visits Zen Center intermittently, often to assist with formal ceremonies, such as the Mountain Seat (installation of abbots/abbesses) and events related to the history and teachings of Suzuki Roshi. He is generally addressed as Hojo-san.
Koshin Julia Ten Eyck Koshin Julia Ten Eyck is a relationship and child welfare attorney, mediator and Zen priest in San Francisco. Julia has had an active spiritual and meditation practice of one form or another for more than three decades. In 2004, she found Zen practice (or Zen practice found her), and she became a student of Zen and a practicing member of Hartford Street Zen Center. She received jukai in 2006 and received priesthood ordination in 2010 with her root teacher, the late Surei Darlene Cohen. Julia is the past president, and still member of, the Hartford Street Zen Center Board of Directors, and is also a longtime member of the Dharma Lawyers, a group of Buddhist attorneys led by Mary Mocine. In 2012, she completed three years of sangha leadership training and was granted a certificate of Zen Ministry by the Shogaku Zen Institute. She is also a student of yoga and a writer, and loves to travel, especially to visit her daughter in New York City as often as possible.
Do-On Robert Thomas At age 34, Do-On Robert Thomas stumbled into a Buddhist monastery in the forests of Thailand and began his Buddhist life. Today, his kind and thoughtful presence is the result of a 20-year commitment to Zen Buddhism, including six years of intensive meditation at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, America’s first Zen monastery. He was ordained as a Buddhist priest in 2000 and received dharma transmission from his Zen teacher, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, in 2009. As a dharma teacher, Robert leads meditation retreats and workshops and gives public lectures throughout the year. He thrives in facilitating engaging explorations of Buddhist ideas and practices as they apply to real-life issues. He was president of San Francisco Zen Center from 2005 to 2013, and is currently a visiting teacher at the Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico. Since 1993 he has traveled extensively, studying Buddhism in Thailand, Burma, India and Nepal.
Ko Shin Steven Tierney Steven Tierney, EdD, LPCC is Professor of Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. A licensed psychotherapist and certified addiction specialist, he is the co-founder of the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation, creating and delivering therapy and services in the areas of recovery and life transitions. Steven has been studying and practicing Buddhism for more than 20 years. He was ordained by Dairyu Michael Wenger and served as shuso in 2013.
Arinna Weisman Arinna Weisman has studied insight meditation since 1979 and has been teaching since 1989. Her root teacher is Ruth Denison, who was empowered by the great teacher U Bha Khin. She is the founding teacher of Insight Meditation Center of the Pioneer Valley. Her Dharma practice and teaching have been infused with her political and environmental activism.
Sojun Mel Weitsman (Senior Dharma Teacher) Sojun Mel Weitsman is a San Francisco Zen Center senior dharma teacher and Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center. He received priest ordination from Suzuki Roshi in 1969 and in 1984 he received dharma transmission from Suzuki Roshi's son, Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi.
Dairyu Michael Wenger Dairyu Michael Wenger received dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman and is the author of Forty Nine Fingers, a collection of modern American koans, and editor of the book Wind Bell. He practiced at SF Zen Center from 1972 and is now the guiding teacher at Dragons Leap in San Francisco.
Tim Wicks Born in Utah and raised in London, Tim Wicks studied fine art at San Francisco State University and received his MFA with distinction from California College of Arts and Crafts. He studied for four years with Spirit Rock teacher Eugene Cash. Impressed with Mahayana Buddhism and the bodhisattva ideal, he studied with Michael Wenger, receiving lay ordination (jukai) in 2006 and priest ordination in 2013. He has worked with Buddhists in recovery at San Francisco Zen Center for over ten years and has led the Friday night recovery meeting at Hartford Street Zen Center for two years.
Liping Julia Zhu Liping Zhu, LAc, a licensed acupuncturist and founder of Qi Dragon Healing Center, received her Qigong Master Level training in China and is a certified Qigong Taichi instructor as a disciple of both the Heavenly Essence Qigong and Taiyi Swimming Dragon Taichi lineages. She is the Qigong professor at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. She had 10 years residential Zen training at San Francisco Zen Center and was shuso (head monk) in 2010.