Guest Teachers & Lecturers
The following list includes upcoming guest teachers and lecturers, as well as those who have taught or offered dharma talks at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center within the last 12 months.
Ryuko Laura Burges
Ryuko Laura Burges, a lay entrusted dharma teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, lectures and leads retreats at different practice places in Northern California. Her writing has appeared in Buddhadharma Magazine and The Best of the Windbell. Her plays about women in American history have been used in classrooms, women's groups, and prisons nationally. Laura co-founded the Sangha in Recovery Program at the San Francisco Zen Center and is the abiding teacher at the Lenox House meditation group in Oakland.
Marc Lesser is a Zen priest and head teacher of Mill Valley Zen. He was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years including director of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He is an executive coach, CEO, mindfulness teacher, author, and speaker. He has led mindfulness and emotional intelligence programs at many of the world’s leading businesses and organizations including Google, SAP, Genentech, and Kaiser. He is currently CEO of ZBA Associates, a company providing mindfulness-based leadership trainings, executive coaching, and consulting to companies and organizations.
Zesho Susan O'Connell
Zesho Susan O'Connell is a Zen teacher with 25 years of meditation experience. She has lived at Zen Center since 1995, was ordained as a priest in 1999 by Tenshin Reb Anderson, and currently serves as president. She started, with two other partners, her own business as an independent feature film producer with offices in San Francisco and L.A., and continued that business for 25 years. She has helped to produce over 10 video/film projects about Zen Center and its teachers.
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.
Kyosho Valorie Beer
Kyosho Valorie Beer has practiced Zen Buddhism since 1991. She was ordained as a priest in 2005 and received dharma transmission in 2013 from her teacher, Edward Brown. She lived at Green Gulch Farm from 2003 to 2012, when she moved to City Center. After serving as the San Francisco Zen Center corporate secretary, she was the City Center ino, and is now supporting the Branching Streams sanghas as a visiting teacher. Before taking up monastic life, Valorie worked for two decades in corporate Human Resources at various high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. She is the author of four books, a private pilot, and the mother of a thirty-something daughter who works and lives in the Bay Area.
Edward Brown has been practicing Zen since 1965. Ordained as a priest by Suzuki Roshi in 1971, he received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman in 1996. He is the author of several books and also has edited a book of Suzuki Roshi lectures, Not Always So. Ed is the founder and teacher of the Peaceful Sea Sangha.
Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan
Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan has lived at Green Gulch for over 10 years, where she most recently served as Guest Program Manager, and has practiced at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery. She was ordained a Soto Zen priest by Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2010 and was Shuso (head monk) in 2014. She studied Iyengar Yoga with Donald Moyer for two decades, and has been teaching yoga since 1988. This past year (2016-2017) she led or co-led Zen and Yoga retreats at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, Green Gulch Farm, The Yoga Room in Berkeley, Yogasana in Brooklyn, New York, and in Ireland.
Sally Chang brings over 20 years of martial arts experience and is dedicated to the practice of internal cultivation from a Daoist perspective. Her experience as an Acupuncturist and Herbalist also integrates principles of classical Chinese medicine into these self-care practices. Sally brings a warm, focused presence to these healing arts.
Cynthia Cummins regularly leads Wild Heart Writing workshops in San Francisco and the Bay Area. A former journalist, she is a blogger, novelist, student of writing, and formerly served as a graduate facilitator for The Hoffman Institute.
Dr. Grace Dammann, a physician who was honored by the Dalai Lama for her extraordinary work with AIDS patients, was a resident of Green Gulch Farm for many decades. Her life was changed when she experienced a head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge. After 48 days in a coma, Grace miraculously awoke. Once the thrill and euphoria of survival had passed, the hard, painful work of rehabilitation and caregiving began for Grace and her caregivers. Today, Grace runs the Pain Clinic at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center from a wheelchair.
Kristen Davis is the owner and director of Yogasana Center, in Brooklyn, New York. She had her first Alexander Technique lesson and her first yoga class in the same week in 1993. For the past 23 years she has never practiced one without the other. Kristen has been teaching yoga since 1996, and Alexander Technique since 1999. Beyond her original 1600-hour Alexander training, she completed a postgraduate Alexander training in the Art of Breathing with Jessica Wolf in 2006. In 2012 she graduated from an advanced studies program with her yoga teacher and mentor, Donald Moyer. She is also a committed practitioner of Zen Buddhism and a member of the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha.
Dojin Sarah Emerson
Dojin Sarah Emerson is the head Zen priest at Stone Creek Zen Center in west Sonoma County. She trained at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and other sites of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1997-2007. Dojin ordained with Abbot Gaelyn Godwin at the Houston Zen Center in 2007. She has worked in the fields of mental health and pastoral care. She is currently delighting in the practice of Dharma in family life with Korin and their two children in Northern California.
Jaune Evans has studied Zen since 1978. She was ordained as a priest in the White Plum Lineage by Bernie Glassman and Taizan Maezumi Roshi in 1983 at the Zen Community of New York. She now studies with Norman Fischer, and has been a priest in the Everyday Zen lineage since 2010. Jaune works as the Executive Director of Tamalpais Trust, a philanthropic foundation which supports the protection of sacred lands and waters, cultural and human rights, gender empowerment and global alliance-building through the work of indigenous-led organizations. She also serves on the Board of Advisors at the UC Berkeley Human Rights Center.
Kathie Fischer lives in Muir Beach, California, with her husband, Norman Fischer. She began Zen practice with Mel Weitsman at the Berkeley Zen Center when she was 19. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a major in Buddhist Studies she went to Tassajara with Norman and their twin baby boys. In 1981 they all moved from Tassajara to Green Gulch Farm where they lived until 1996. For 28 years Kathie taught school in nearby Mill Valley, where she found the public school classroom a rich environment for practice. Kathie received priest ordination in 1980 and Dharma Transmission in 2011. Since her retirement in 2016 she is finding more time for teaching Buddhism.
Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Senior Dharma Teacher)
Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet, writer, priest, and a former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. He is founder and teacher of the Everyday Zen Foundation. Norman has an abiding commitment to applying Zen to contemporary issues and everyday life in the world. In addition to his guiding leadership and teaching with Everyday Zen in the Bay Area, Norman was the founding teacher and continues to participate with other Zen groups.
Hoka Chris Fortin
Chris is a Zen priest and teacher who received dharma transmission from Zoketsu Norman Fischer. She is a licensed MFT psychotherapist and spiritual counselor who has combined psychotherapy and spirituality for over 25 years in her private practice. She began practicing Buddhism at San Francisco Zen Center in 1976.
Kazu Haga is the founder and coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy and is a trainer in Kingian Nonviolence, a philosophy developed out of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the organizing methodologies of the Civil Rights movement. Having received training from elders including Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Rev. James Lawson, and Joanna Macy, he teaches nonviolence, conflict reconciliation, organizing and mindfulness in prisons and jails, high schools and youth groups, and with activist communities around the country.
Kokyo Henkel has been Head Teacher of the Santa Cruz Zen Center since 2009, when he first arrived there. He has been practicing Zen since 1990, in residence at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (most recently as Head of Practice), Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, No Abode Hermitage in Mill Valley, and Bukkokuji Monastery in Japan. He was ordained as a priest in 1994 by Tenshin Anderson Roshi and received Dharma Transmission from him in 2010. Kokyo is interested in exploring how the original teachings of Buddha-Dharma from ancient India, China, and Japan are still very much alive and useful in present-day America to bring peace and harmony to this troubled world.
Paul Irving has practiced in Eastern and Western contemplative traditions for over 40 years. Having completed Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Program in 2012, he holds Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s certification to teach in the community. Much of his teaching has been at San Francisco Insight, where he has also served as SFI’s board president. Additionally, Paul is one the facilitators for the Transforming Depression and Anxiety Practice Class that meets weekly at San Francisco Zen Center. He currently is the practice manager of four allied medical clinics at UCSF and is engaged in moment-to-moment family practice with a husband, a teenager, and a rambunctious dog.
Wendy Johnson lived and trained at Green Gulch Farm from 1975-2000. She is one of the founders of the Organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch, a lay dharma teacher, and the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate (Bantam, 2008). Wendy is a garden mentor to the Edible Schoolyard program and a College of Marin instructor in the Environmental Landscape program at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden project.
Ryotan Cynthia Kear
Cynthia Kear (Ho Ryu Ryo Tan) has been practicing Zen Buddhism for over 25 years and received dharma transmission from her heart teacher, Darlene Cohen, in 2010. Cynthia teaches throughout the Bay area, especially from her home temple.
Monshin Albert Kutchins began practicing at Zen Center in 1984. In the years following he completed several practice periods in Tassajara and one at Rinso-in in Japan, and received the precepts from Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi and again from Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi. In the fall of 2012, he was honored to serve as shuso to Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts at Green Gulch. In addition to teaching and practicing the Dharma whenever he can, and serving on the Zen Center Board, he practices law in Berkeley, where he lives with his family and Satchel the dog.
Rev. Jiko Jane Lazar, SEP
Rev. Jiko Jane Lazar, SEP*, was ordained as a Zen Priest in 2005 by Tenshin Reb Anderson and has trained residentially at Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara for eleven years. She served as shuso with Abbot Steve Stücky in the Fall of 2009. Having discovered her own unresolved trauma through zazen, she found Somatic Experiencing® (SE) to be of profound help and a strong complement to Zen practice. Now a certified Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner* with a private practice in Berkeley, CA, she sees her work as helping others to heal trauma and to face difficult karma with presence and compassion. Jane was a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication between 1995 and 2000, and she holds a blackbelt in Aikido.
Kiku Christina Lehnherr
Kiku Christina Lehnherr served as City Center abbess from 2012 to 2014. She has degrees in physical therapy and clinical psychology, and practiced both in Switzerland. A student of Tenshin Reb Anderson, she was ordained as a priest in 1993, and received dharma transmission in 2005. From 2003 to 2006 she served as head of practice (tanto) at City Center. Currently Christina lives in Marin, where she continues to support sitting groups and students as a non-residential teacher, as she did between 2006 and 2012.
Yo-on Jeremy Levie
Yo-on Jeremy Levie currently serves as Secretary of San Francisco Zen Center. Formerly head of practice (tanto) for Green Dragon Temple at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, he also served as director at Green Gulch from 2009 to 2012. He has trained in residence at San Francisco Zen Center since 1995, having lived at each of the Center’s three temples.
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, PhD, is the heir of Zenkei Blanche Hartman with Dharma Transmission completed by Shosan Victoria Austin. Zenju was shuso/head student for the Fall 2012 Practice Period at City Center, which was led by Christina Lehnherr.
Lisa Marie typically blends styles, including Hatha, Yin and Therapeutic Yoga. Her love for teaching and interest in supporting her students encouraged her to receive training in many other healing modalities. She has extensive studies and 18 years of experience treating clients with Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, Thai Yoga, Yoga Therapy, and Energetic Facilitation.
Djuna Mascall, RYT 500, is a rare teacher who illuminates yoga through intelligent sequencing to allow the body, mind and heart to open. She gracefully integrates her extensive knowledge of anatomy, alignment and the wisdom of yoga. Djuna is a Prajna Yoga Senior teacher, and her primary influence comes from her ongoing work with Tias and Surya Little. She has also studied Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga in depth. She teaches Prajna Yoga workshops and retreats nationally and internationally, and offers 200- and 500-hour teacher trainings.
Garnering degrees from Yale University and San Francisco Art Institute, Betsy McCall brings her experience as a visual artist, social sculptor, internationally ranked synchronized swimmer, and co-founder of theArt Monastery Project in Italy to inform her retreat-hosting. Investigating the relationships among contemplative practice, studio practice, and other kinds of practice (such as swim practice), her work explores breath, repetition, and pattern. Betsy’s visual artwork—which takes the form of meditative “breath portraits,” large-scale pattern-based drawings, and animated mandala abstract videos—has been exhibited from San Francisco and New York to Amsterdam and Rome.
Yeshi Neumann has been working as a midwife since 1970. She has facilitated hundreds of workshops about women’s leadership, diversity, conflict resolution, organizational development, communication, and healing family relationships. Yeshi is a dedicated student and practitioner of Mindfulness.She is also a serious student of QiGong. She is a first level teacher in the lineage of Wisdom Healing Chigong and about to become a second level teacher this fall.
Rev. Shohaku Okumura, founder and guiding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1948. In 1970, he was ordained by the late Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, one of the foremost Zen masters of the 20th century. He is recognized for his unique perspective on the life and teachings of Dogen Zenji derived from his experience as both practitioner and translator, and as a teacher in both Japanese and Western practice communities. He gives frequent lectures on the Shobogenzo and other foundational texts. His translations have been published in several books.
Lane Olson, MA, Faculty Emerita at Sonoma State University, worked in higher education for over 25 years. With research interests in feminist spirituality, her university courses included Female Images of the Divine, and Women in Theology, and her master’s thesis focused on the work of artist and activist Mayumi Oda. She has had a meditation practice since 1975.
Erica Reischer, PhD
Erica Reischer, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and parent educator. She is the author of the best-selling book, What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Kids Who Thrive. A former consultant with McKinsey & Company, she sits on the advisory board for Happy Healthy Kids and leads classes at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Habitot Children’s Museum, and the University of California. She maintains a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her family, and she also speaks to parents and educators across the country.
Keiryu Liên Shutt
Rev. Keiryu Liên Shutt, LCSW, was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam. Her meditation practice began in the Insight tradition and led her to co-founding the Buddhists of Color. She started her Soto Zen training at Tassajara, San Francisco Zen Center's monastery. Ordained and Dharma transmitted by Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Liên has practiced monastically in Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Having worked for many years as a social worker in the field of homelessness, Liên’s teachings are focused on making Zen accessible to all, bringing the deep settledness of traditional practices into everyday life.
Patricia’s teaching arises from 40 years of practice, and includes many streams of study. Her exploration of yoga began in 1971, and she studied in India with the Iyengars on three occasions in the 1980s. She taught Advanced Studies (teachers-in-training) throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before embarking on her own independent studies.
Michael Joshin Thiele
Michael Joshin Thiele lived and practiced at Green Gulch Farm for eight years and received lay ordination in 2001. He is leading an innovative and multidimensional approach within the biodynamic apiculture movement, and teaches in the United States and abroad. He is founder and president of Gaia Bees (www.gaiabees.com) and is researching new dimensions of apiculture in a sociocultural, agricultural, and spiritual context. In the last decade, Michael has been involved with the creation of honeybee sanctuaries and refuges as a means of protection and education.
Tenzen David Zimmerman
Rev. Tenzen David Zimmerman has been practicing Soto Zen for almost 30 years, 19 of which have been in residence at San Francisco Zen Center. He was ordained as a priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi by Rev. Teah Strozer in 2006, and received dharma transmission from her in 2018. David spent eight years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, where he held a number of positions, including monastery director. Prior to his current role as the incoming Abiding Abbot of City Center, David also served as the head of practice, programs director and corporate secretary. David has a Certificate of Zen Ministry through the Shogaku Zen Institute/Zen Priest Training Seminary, serves on the SFZC Promoting Inclusivity & Equity Committee, and is a co-facilitator of Queer Dharma. He regularly leads retreats, workshops and classes at SFZC and other dharma centers, particularly on transforming depression and anxiety.