2019 Retreat Leaders
Siobhan Cassidy grew up in London, England, where she lived until moving to San Francisco in 1990. Siobhan was a resident at San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2008, participating in practice periods at City Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Tassajara, most recently in the Fall of 2015. She was lay ordained by Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin at City Center in 2004 and has since studied with Kiku Christina Lehnherr. Siobhan is a trained mediator with a decade of experience in conflict resolution and communications coaching. Before returning to work at SFZC in 2016 as the Programs Manager, Siobhan worked at Park Day School, a progressive, independent K-8 school in Oakland, California. Siobhan was shuso (head student) for the Winter 2017 Practice Period at City Center at the invitation of Ryushin Paul Haller. She lives in Oakland with her wife, Sally Chang, and is the co-founder of the Women’s Dharma Study Group.
Shosan Victoria Austin
Shosan Victoria Austin offers decades of experience in both yoga and Zen practice. She is a senior Iyengar teacher, and has received Soto Zen dharma transmission. She has studied with the Iyengars and others in both traditions in order to cultivate integrity and depth of practice for joy and freedom. www.victoriaaustin.org
Ann Averbach is the founder of DiviniTree Yoga Studios in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara and the creator of Yoga Ceremony and Gypsy Yoga Flow. Her classes are deeply tied with a love for the earth. Ann has been teaching for over 15 years and leads retreats worldwide. www.divinitree.com
Letitia Bartlett has been teaching yoga for 20 years. She is a graduate of the San Francisco Iyengar Institute and has studied in Pune, India with the Iyengar family. Letitia also works as a clown, mime, and acting teacher in San Francisco.
Ingen Breen received dharma transmission from Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 2009 and now has his own temple in Co. Clare, Ireland. Ingen has practiced Buddhism for over 25 years. He has led sesshins and retreats in Europe and California and is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of America.
Christy Brown, E-RYT 500, has studied with Pattabhi Jois, S.N. Goenka, Sarah Powers, Paul Grilley, and H.H. the Dalai Lama. Combining mindfulness, breath, alignment, Buddhism, Taoism, and other wisdom traditions, Christy weaves a creatively flowing, invigorating yet calming, centering yet expanding exploration of self through asana—dedicated to the highest well-being of the Earth and all beings. ChristyBrownYoga.com
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.
Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan
Shokuchi Deirdre Carrigan has been teaching yoga in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1988. She received priest ordination from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2010 and served as head monk in 2014. She recently joined the sangha of Brooklyn Zen Center in New York as Tanto (Head of Practice) and also teaches yoga at Yogasana in Brooklyn.
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.
Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam.
Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam., is a Camaldolese Benedictine monk, musician, composer, author, and teacher. After his initial years of formation at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, he lived in a hermitage near Santa Cruz, California, for ten years, spending about half his time at home, and half his time traveling, performing and teaching. Cyprian has over a dozen recordings of his music, and published two books and numerous articles. He has been to India numerous times as well as other countries in Europe, Asia, and the Mideast, performing as well as studying and teaching. After returning to New Camaldoli in 2012, he was elected prior of the community in 2013.
Cynthia Cummins regularly leads Wild Heart Writing workshops in San Francisco and the Bay Area. A former journalist, she is a blogger (WildHeartWriting.org, RealEstateTherapy.org), novelist, student of writing, and formerly served as a graduate facilitator for The Hoffman Institute.
Shogen Danielson began practicing Zen in 1997 and was ordained as a priest in 2008 by Teah Strozer. Before becoming a resident at Zen Center, he worked with the Peace Corps in Africa for four and a half years teaching science, math, and life skills. Shogen holds an M.S. in Physics and Astronomy and loves spending time in nature with his two children.
Kristen Davis is the owner and director of Yogasana Center, in Brooklyn, NY. She had her first Alexander Technique lesson and her first yoga class in the same week in 1993. Kristen has been teaching yoga since 1996 and Alexander Technique since 1999. She is also a committed practitioner of Soto Zen Buddhism and is currently the Ino at Brooklyn Zen Center. Kristen received the Bodhisattva Precepts from her teacher, Teah Strozer, in December, 2017.
Laura Davis is the author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again. Founder of The Writer’s Journey, she leads writing retreats worldwide and specializes in the use of writing as a tool for healing and transformation. www.lauradavis.net
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 to 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.
Zenshin Greg Fain
Zenshin Greg Fain got his first introduction to Zen at San Francisco Zen Center when he was 19, and more recently has been training closely with his teacher Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi, the Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, for over 20 years. He was ordained as a priest in 2002, and received dharma transmission in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi from Sojun Roshi in April 2012.
Quentin Finney is founder of Pause i/O, a certified B Corp especially focused on enabling sustainable high performance through emotionally intelligent leadership. He’s personally committed to helping business leaders along their growth journeys as they move through times of transition and into roles of increasing responsibility. Such critical transformation begins with the deeper inner work of connecting with themselves as a way of enabling them to be agents of greater service and impact in all areas of their lives.
Britt Fohrman has taught yoga since 1997, with a foundation in Iyengar yoga and specialties in restorative, therapeutic and prenatal yoga. Her teaching emphasizes individualized alignment, meditative focus and breath-guided movement, and is infused with levity, compassion and honesty.
Shinchi Linda Galijan, PhD
Shinchi Linda Galijan was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2004 and received Dharma Transmission from him in 2012. She has been a professional musician and licensed clinical psychologist, and has practiced Buddhism and yoga for over 30 years. Linda practiced at Tassajara for almost 10 years, including four years as Tassajara Director. She is currently President of San Francisco Zen Center.
Jim Gallas has been teaching yoga, qigong, and shiatsu for over 20 years. He teaches at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, at Five Branches University Santa Cruz, and at Haramara Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico. Jim loves his work and aims to meet the needs of each student with compassion, humor, and extensive experience. www.relaxedfocus.net
Rosemary Garrison began her study of yoga in the traditional Ashtanga style with Tim Miller. She has since worked with several Vinyasa instructors including Shiva Rea and Dharma Mittra. She incorporates creativity and grace into her teachings and beckons her students into the deeper layers of practice, encouraging greater awareness, transformation, and peace.
John Gaydos has been practicing yoga since 1972 and teaching at Yogaworks in Santa Monica since 1997. He loves teaching beginners and seniors. John was a professional dancer and also specializes in teaching dancers. His first visit to Tassajara was in 1969 as a teenager when he was introduced to meditation. Johngaydosyoga.com
Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin
Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin is the Abbot of Houston Zen Center. She trained at San Francisco Zen Center for 18 years, many of them at Tassajara. She moved from Green Gulch Farm to Houston in 2003 at the request of the Houston Zen Community where, together with the Zen community, she helped establish the Houston Zen Center, a thriving and diverse urban refuge in the heart of Houston for the study of Zen.
Jisan Tova Green
Jisan Tova Green, a Zen priest who received dharma transmission from Eijun Linda Cutts in 2015, resides and teaches at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center. She co-founded the SFZC Queer Dharma Group in 2009 and the group “Unpacking Whiteness - Reflection and Action.” Tova has worked as a hospice social worker, plays the cello, and writes poetry.
Ryushin Paul Haller
Ryushin Paul Haller, former City Center abbot and currently Urban Temple Dharma Teacher, has taught Zen, mindfulness, and meditation for over 25 years throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has created programs that assist with depression and substance abuse, has taught in prisons, and has a long involvement with Zen Hospice Project. He has been practicing yoga for over 25 years.
MyoE Doris Harder
Rev. MyoE Doris Harder is an ordained Soto Zen priest in the lineages of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Kobun Otogawa Roshi. She practiced for six years between 2002 and 2009 at San Francisco Zen Center, where she completed her studies by serving as shuso, or head monk. For the next six years Doris lived and worked in Vienna, Austria, where she directed plays and was an active member of the umbrella organization of Austrian Buddhists. In Europe, she taught Zen, wrote articles, and led Zen retreats. Now, happy to be back at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, she is serving as Tanto, Head of Practice.
Steven Harper, M.A.
Steven Harper is a wilderness guide, author, and consultant. He has taught at Esalen Institute for 40 years and is a resident of Big Sur. A student of Buddhism since 1972, he also has an MA in Psychology with a focus on wild nature as a vehicle for awakening. www.stevenkharper.com
Shundo David Haye
Shundo David Haye began practicing in 2000 and lived at San Francisco Zen Center for 15 years. Ordained as a priest in 2009, he served as shuso (head monk) in 2012 and served in numerous traditional temple administrator roles at Tassajara and City Center. He loves to be in the outdoors—usually either riding a bike or taking photographs.
Linda Hess is a translator and scholar of devotional/mystical poetry from North India--especially the 15th-century poet Kabir. She taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University 1996-2017. She began Zen practice in 1974 at San Francisco Zen Center and currently practices at Berkeley Zen Center.
Purusha Hickson has been teaching Hatha Yoga for over 40 years. His principal spiritual teacher is Swamini Turiyasangitanandaji, also known as Alice Coltrane. He has studied extensively in India with great Hatha Yoga masters such as Swami Satchidananda, the Iyengars, and Pattabhi Jois. His classes are characterized by a unique blend of spirit, technique, and humor.
James Higgins interweaves a slow, steady, and engaged Vinyasa Yoga practice with his Vipassana meditation experience to offer a unique, appealing, and challenging class for all. He has been a presenter at Kripalu, Omega Institute, Wanderlust Festival, Yoga Journal Conferences, and Tassajara. He teaches yoga and meditation worldwide.
Brian Hogencamp is a dedicated yoga practitioner and senior certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. He travels annually to India for extended study with the Iyengar family. Brian is devoted to sharing the art, science and philosophy of yoga according to the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. www.iybrian.com
Heather Shoren Iarusso
Heather Shoren Iarusso ordained as a Zen priest in October 2015 and has lived at Tassajara for six of the last 10 years. She was head student under Ruyshin Paul Haller for the Winter 2018 Practice Period. For her, yoga and Zen are complementary practices that yoke body and mind in the silent awareness of the present moment, generating a sense of spacious well-being.
Leslie James is the Abiding Teacher at Tassajara and has practiced at San Francisco Zen Center since 1971. She received lay dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2001. Leslie has two grown children and has lived at Tassajara with her husband, Keith Meyerhoff, for 30 years.
Ryotan Cynthia Kear
Ryotan Cynthia Kear, Guiding Teacher of Great Spirit Sangha, has practiced Soto Zen Buddhism for over 30 years. Her focus is exploring how we can infuse all of life with space, awareness, stability, and ease. Dharma transmitted in 2011, Cynthia also leads meditation-in-recovery retreats and gives dharma talks throughout northern CA.
John Muir Laws
John Muir Laws, naturalist, educator and artist, has taught people to connect to nature through journaling since 1990. He is the author of The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016) and The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012). He leads nature journal workshops and field trips for practitioners and teachers.
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.
Lee Klinger Lesser
Lee Klinger Lesser has been leading workshops in Sensory Awareness for over 40 years. She led workshops together with Charlotte Selver, founder of Sensory Awareness in the United States, and the first person invited by Suzuki Roshi to teach at Tassajara. Lee began studying Zen in 1978 and appreciates the deep interconnectedness of these practices. She co-founded Veteran’s PATH, offering mindfulness and meditation retreats for returning veterans.
Marc Lesser is a Zen teacher, CEO, mindfulness teacher, author, and speaker. He was a resident of the San Francisco Zen Center for 10 years, and director of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He is internationally recognized for pioneering work in mindful leadership, creating exceptional business cultures, and supporting profound well-being. He is the author of Seven Practices of a Mindful Leader: Lessons From Google and a Zen Monastery Kitchen.
Sessei Meg Levie, MA
Meg helped develop the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (siyli.org) from its founding in 2012 and for the last 10 years has contributed to the development of mindfulness movement in the business world. As the senior teacher trainer for the Search Inside Yourself program (an emotional intelligence leadership program developed at Google), she has trained hundreds of teachers and leads programs internationally. Since 1994 she has been in residence at the San Francisco Zen Center, including Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara, receiving priest ordination from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2003 and permission to teach (shuso) in 2007. She is a certified professional coach and specializes in coaching executives at major tech companies (Google, SAP) who have established meditation practices and a desire to serve. She received her BA with honors from Stanford University and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently lives at City Center in San Francisco with her husband, Jeremy Levie, also a Zen priest, and is the mother of a very adventurous teenage daughter.
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1987, including living for six years at Tassajara. She served twice as shuso, once as a lay practitioner and again as a priest. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1997 and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts in December 2012. Through her interest in extended priest training, she participated in a one-year chaplain training program at UCSF Medical Center and completed a Masters of Theology at the University of San Francisco. She has held senior staff and administrative positions at SF Zen Center as well as working as the Web Editor. She has dabbled in journal-keeping and a fair amount of drawing and watercolor throughout her life.
Marcia Lieberman is a long-term Buddhist practitioner who has been affiliated with San Francisco Zen Center since 1989, having resided at all three SFZC practice centers. As an artist, her affinity for beauty and form in ceremony has been a guiding part of her practice. Lieberman taught in the photography departments at UC Berkeley and California College of the Arts. In 2016 she completed graduate studies in Buddhist scholarship at the Institute for Buddhist Studies, UCB Graduate Theological Seminary. Marcia was shuso at Green Gulch Farm for the Spring 2017 Practice Period. She is a practice leader at City Center.
Lirio, MA, ERYT 500, has taught meditation, pranayama, and yoga asana postures for the last 20 years. Her goal is to make yoga available and accessible to people regardless of physical ability or aptitude. She enjoys bringing humor, warmth, and creativity to her classes.
Lisa Marie, RYT-500, CST, Reiki Master, and founder of PremaYoga. With 32 years of experience in practice, and 20 years as a teacher she integrates Hatha Yoga and Reiki in her sessions. Her style is accessible to all levels of students.
Djuna Mascall teaches Prajna Yoga nationally and internationally. Her primary influences are Tias and Surya Little. She is also a certified yoga therapist in private practice. Her highly accessible approach illuminates the depths of the yoga practice. She was featured in Yoga Journal in 2012. www.djunamascall.com
Shelley Massa-Gooch began her study of Yoga in 1995 after meeting her teacher Shandor (Zhander) Remete, founder of Shadow Yoga. She completed her first teachers training in 1997 and began teaching. In 2007, she and her business partner opened YOGA SHALA SLO. Shelley continues to train annually, locally and abroad, with Shandor Remete and Emma Balanaves and completed her second teacher's training in 2012, the 3-year Shadow Yoga Teacher's Training program. Shelley's classes provide a safe, supportive and challenging environment for students. She teaches Hatha Yoga and Shadow Yoga and is listed as a recommended teacher by Shadow Yoga and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.
Betsy McCall‘s paintings have been shown from San Francisco and New York to Amsterdam and Rome. In 2008, she co-founded the Art Monastery, an international arts organization dedicated to applying monastic practices to art-making, and has been hosting transformative retreats ever since. Betsy lives at Art Monastery Vermont. www.artmonastery.org www.BetsyMcCallArt.com
Myoju Erin Merk
Myoju Erin Merk is a Zen priest, yoga teacher, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. A teacher at Lick-Wilmerding High School since 2006, Erin was ordained by Eijun Linda Cutts in 2005, and served as head student at Tassajara in 2012. Erin has lived and practiced at City Center, Tassajara, Green Gulch Farm, and No Abode, and received yoga teacher certification through Yoga Room Berkeley. Erin is a Relax and Renew™ trainer.
Zenki Mary Mocine
Mary Mocine is a Zen priest who trained at San Francisco Zen Center and was ordained in 1994. She received dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2005. Mary practiced law for 18 years and now leads a dharma group for lawyers.
Simon Moyes explores how to bring the teachings from Zen Buddhism to everyday life. He works with the San Francisco Zen Center as a leader of the Young Urban Zen (YUZ) group, works in the corporate world teaching mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and is a lead trainer with Google’s Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry reflects a world vision, and attests to our shared humanity. Author or editor of over 30 books, her new books include Transfer, There is No Long Distance Now, and Voices in the Air – Poems for Listeners.
Hakusho Ostlund first entered residential practice at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in 2006 after a journey through monasteries and retreat centers in Asia had inspired him to continue to make the Buddhadharma a main focus in his life. He was ordained as a Soto Zen Priest by Furyu Nancy Schroeder in 2012 and served as shuso, head student, under her guidance in 2016. He is currently the tanto (head of practice) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.
Stacie Overby views yoga as a spiritual, psychological, and energetic journey that inspires understanding of self and deep transformation. Her yin–yang flow style classes emphasize integration of breath and movement, meditation and pranayama to support a holistic exploration of the mind, body, and soul. Stacie holds an MA in Integral psychology and has a private practice in San Francisco.
Athena Pappas has been immersed in the study, practice and teaching of yoga since 1989. She is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher whose practice emphasizes alignment and awareness. Athena believes that yoga is a multi-faceted gem that supports our ability to experience peaceful and contented lives.
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 served as head student (shuso) with City Center Abiding Abbot Ed Sattizahn in the fall of 2014. Nancy works in Zen Center's Development Department fundraising for the Dharma and San Francisco Zen Center’s three temples, and resides in SF with her teenage daughter.
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. Charlie and his partner, Dojin Sarah Emerson, are head priests at Stone Creek Zen Center. He also teaches at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Diane Renshaw began Zen practice in 1978 and has been working with Tassajara on a native plant project for 25 years. Diane lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an experienced botanist, birdwatcher, and ecologist.
Jiryu Rutschman-Byler is a priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi with Dharma Transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. He lives, works, and teaches at Green Gulch Farm and is the head teacher of the Buddhadharma Sangha at San Quentin State Prison. www.shoresofzen.com
Furyu Nancy Schroeder
Furyu Nancy Schroeder, a resident of San Francisco Zen Center for over 35 years, became Abiding Abbess at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in March 2014. She has held numerous monastic positions at Zen Center and has been an active supporter of programs for children, people of color, the gay and lesbian community, and the interfaith community.
Laurie started formal Zen practice in 1980 at San Francisco Zen Center; she worked at Greens Restaurant back in the day, and lived at Tassajara for three years. In 1989 she married Hozan Alan Senauke, moved to Berkeley Zen Center, and raised their two children. After several years of intense focus on child-rearing, she gradually returned to more involvement in formal practice. She served as Shuso (Head Student) at BZC in 2003 and received Lay Recognition in 2006. In April 2018, she was ordained as a Zen priest by Daito Steven Weintraub who gave her the name Kosei Nyokai – Radiant Vow, Suchness Ocean. She practices hypnotherapy and co-leads “Write What You Don’t Know” retreats at Tassajara and Green Gulch.
Keiryu Liên Shutt
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.
Onryu Mary Stares
Onryu Mary Stares first came to Zen Center in 2000, following a period of residential practice at Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, Canada. A carpenter by trade, Mary was ordained as a priest in 2010 by Arlene Lueck and Myogen Steve Stücky. Mary was shuso (head monk) for the Winter 2015 Practice Period at Tassajara, and has served in various roles at all three temples of San Francisco Zen Center.
Rex Stromness had the good fortune to be introduced to both yoga and Zen meditation while studying at Sonoma State College in the mid-70s. After graduating he spent 10 years in Boulder, Colorado where he was introduced to Ashtanga Yoga and the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche. He and his wife Michele lead International yoga, meditation, and culture retreats in Bali, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
Patricia Sullivan’s 40-year experience teaching yoga enables her to bring forth a natural joy and ease of being through an emphasis on process, explorations, and individual attention. She contributes this depth of experience in retreats for various institutions, in teacher trainings, and in one-to-one therapeutic sessions. 2019 will be Patricia’s 32nd year co-leading retreats at Tassajara.
Kazuaki Tanahashi is a calligrapher, painter, Zen scholar, and writer. Originally from Japan, he has had solo exhibitions worldwide. As a peace worker, Kaz is founding director of A World Without Armies. He is the editor of a recently published two-volume translation of Dogen’s Shobogenzo, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye as well as Heart of the Brush: The Splendour of East Asian Calligraphy and Painting Peace: Art in a Time of Global Crisis, forthcoming from Shambhala Publications in March 2018.
Ango Sara Tashker
Ango Sara Tashker has been a residential practitioner at San Francisco Zen Center since 2002. In 2011, she served as shuso (head student) at Tassajara with Abbot Myogen Steve Stücky and Sojun Mel Weitsman, and in 2013 was ordained as a priest. She currently serves as Director of Green Gulch Farm.
Koshin Steven Tierney
Ko-Shin Steven Tierney, Ed.D., LPCC, is a Professor of Counseling Psychology. He co-founded the San Francisco Mindfulness Foundation, which delivers services around recovery and life transitions. A practitioner of Buddhism for over 25 years, Steven was ordained by Dairyu Michael Wenger and served as shuso (head monk) in 2013.
I grew up in a family that highly valued creativity and from an early age, my eyes were trained to see the beauty around me. Everything was scrutinized with sharp focus—composition, color, proportion were common words in our family’s vocabulary. I received an MFA in graphic design from Rhode Island School of Design and practiced graphic design for many years before starting to paint. I was introduced to watercolor painting by my mother who took it up in her seventies, painting passionately for the remainder of her life. She taught me that it’s never too late to learn something new.
Sojun Mel Weitsman
Sojun Mel Weitsman is Abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center and a former Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He began practice with Suzuki Roshi in 1964 and was ordained as a priest in 1969. He has led many practice periods, given dharma transmission to a number of priests, and enjoys spreading Suzuki Roshi’s teaching. He especially welcomes beginners.
Gengyoko Tim Wicks
Gengyoko Tim Wicks is a fine artist who lives and paints in San Francisco. Tim received priest ordination from Michael Wenger in 2013 and has completed the Shogaku Priest Ongoing Training program. He is a student of Abbot Rinso Ed Sattizahn and served as shuso (head monk) at both San Francisco City Center (2016) and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center (2017).
angel Kyodo williams
Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Sensei, called “the most intriguing African–American Buddhist” by Library Journal, and one of only three black women senseis, is a maverick dharma teacher, author, founder of Center for Transformative Change, and co-author of her newest book, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation.
Gendo Lucy Xiao (玄道), DAOM
Rev. Gendo Lucy Xiao is a Zen priest and a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She started practicing at San Francisco Zen Center in 2000, received priest ordination in 2010 and served as Shuso (head monk) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in winter 2014. She is most grateful to Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi, Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi, and other elders who have kindly offered their guidance over the years. Lucy was born in Guangzhou, China. As she was growing up during the Cultural Revolution, she witnessed a great deal of impermanence and suffering as well as kindness around her so that when she first encountered the teaching of the Buddha, it completely resonated in her.
Liping Julia Zhu
Dr. Liping Julia Zhu, DAOM, L.Ac., founder of Qi Dragon Healing Center and Heavenly Essence Qigong Institute, has received direct transmission of Qigong and Taichi from her masters in China. She is the Qigong instructor at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and San Francisco State University and also has an acupuncture practice in San Francisco. www.qidragon.com
Dan Zigmond was ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage by Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi in 1998 and serves on the board of the San Francisco Zen Center. He is currently the Director of Analytics at Facebook, and co-author of the best-selling book Buddha’s Diet: the Ancient Art of Losing Weight Without Losing your Mind.
Tenzen David Zimmerman (City Center Abiding Abbot)
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. David was installed as the City Center Abiding Abbot in March 2019.