Myozen Joan Amaral began Zen practice in 1998, received priest ordination from Darlene Cohen in 2004, and was head student at San Francisco Zen Center with Zenkei Blanche Hartman in 2009. Her interest in zazen grew out of a background in dance and she continues to be interested in the ways that movement and the cultivation of energy can support the practice of stillness. Joan trained at Tassajara for six years where she served as Ino (head of the meditation hall), Treasurer, Work Leader, and Shika (guest manager), and other monastic training positions. While in residency at San Francisco Zen Center, she formed a dharma 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. Also while in San Francisco, she led meditation classes at the 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. As a priest living in the world, her primary focus is on the relationship between formal practice and urban life.
In March 2012 Joan returned to her native New England to establish the Marblehead (MA) Zen Center, where she serves as guiding teacher.