Zenkei Blanche Hartman began sitting in 1969 at the Berkeley Zen Center with Sojun Mel Weitsman and in San Francisco with Suzuki Roshi. She was priest ordained in 1977 by Zentatsu Baker and received dharma transmission with Sojun in 1988. Zenkei was the first woman Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, serving in that position from 1996-2003.
Zenkei has lived and trained at all three of SFZC’s practice centers. She has led retreats for women at both SFZC and in Japan, and is an expert in the ritual of sewing the priest’s robe (kesa) and the lay precept-holder’s garment (rakusu). She is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA) and sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. She currently resides at City Center, where she serves as a Senior Dharma Teacher.
Before coming to Zen practice, she studied chemistry at the University of California and worked as a chemist for the State of California. She married her late husband Shuun Lou Hartman in 1947 and together they had four children, eight grandchildren, and a growing number of great-grandchildren.
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