Retreat Teachers


A listing of teachers and guest instructors who frequently or infrequently offer workshops and retreats at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of NYC.

Atisha (982 – 1054)

Amy Shoko Brown

Amy Shoko Brown has a private practice helping people who want relief from chronic stress and overwhelming events.  She offers the healing modalities of Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy, and QiGong, to support people to embody their most resilient, creative, and loving selves. Clients include people who want relief from chronic stress, adult survivors of abuse, people struggling with syndromal patterns (especially EDS, CFS, IBS, migraines), accidents, medical trauma, developmental trauma, LGBTQ social trauma, Somatic Experiencing students and others health professionals. Amy Shoko Brown is a senior student with the Mountains and Rivers Order.

Anam Thubten Rinpoche

Anam Thubten grew up in Tibet and at an early age began to practice in the Nyingma lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the founder and spiritual advisor of Dharmata Foundation, teaching widely in the US, Europe and Asia. He is the author of several books, including Embracing Each Moment, No Self, No Problem, and The Citadel of Awareness. Through sharing his wisdom and personal experience on the spiritual path, Anam Thubten brings alive the timeless teachings of Buddhism.

Andrew Hobai Pekarik

Andrew Hobai Pekarik has been a student of tea ceremony in the Urasenke tradition since 1977, and a Zen student in the Mountains and Rivers Order since 1994. He constructed his own teahouse, and he has been involved with Japanese art and literature as a scholar, curator, and author.

Ann Gleig

Ann Gleig is an Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida specializing in Religion in America, Asian religions, Religion and Psychoanalysis, and Gender and Sexuality. Gleig’s first monograph, American Dharma: Buddhism Beyond Modernity, was published in February 2019 by Yale University Press.  Current research includes: “Transforming the American Sangha: Race, Racism and Diversity in North American Insight Meditation,” led by the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, and serving as part of a five-person core team of religious studies scholars working on the Religion and Sexual Abuse Project, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.


Atisha (982 – 1054)

Barbara Bash

Barbara Bash is a longtime student and teacher of buddhism in the Shambhala tradition of Chogyam Trungpa. She is a calligraphic artist working with communication in many forms. Her involvement with the dynamics of a practice center led her to the study Nonviolent Communication. Over the years she has interwoven her mindful art practices with NVC consciousness, creating community environments where everyone feels heard. She offered NVC in the prison system for eight years while leading meditation with the buddhist inmates. In 2016 she participated in the Intensive Training Program between Palestinians and Israelis in Beit Jala. Barbara continues to lead communication practices during these unusual times to strengthen self connection and deepen dialogue with others. Her website is Visual blog –

Bee Scherer

Bee Scherer (they, them, their) has been practicing for decades in the Sakya and Kagyu traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and has served as a dharma teacher for fifteen years. A former professor of Religious and Gender Studies at Canterbury CCU, in the U.K., Bee now heads Buddhist Studies and Buddhist Spiritual Care at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Trained in the classical Buddhist languages, Bee has published widely in Buddhist Studies as well as gender and sexuality theory. Both as an academic and as a queer/non-binary/trans* & dis/ability advocate, Bee brings their unique perspective to Buddhist practice, embodiment, and social engagement.

Ben Connelly

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He also teaches mindfulness in a variety of secular contexts including police training and addiction recovery groups, and is engaged with social justice activist communities. Ben is based at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and travels to teach across the United States. He writes for Tricycle Magazine and is author of three books for Wisdom Publications including Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Chance Krempasky

Chance Krempasky is a vegan cyclist, cold water swimming weirdo, and meditator. He works as a family nurse practitioner specializing in queer and transgender medicine, drug user health, and care for people living with HIV. Chance is a practice leader at New York Insight Meditation Center, co-author of Developing Trans*Competence: A Short Guide to Improving Transgender Experiences at Meditation and Retreat Centers, and a contributor to Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices. He has led gatherings for TGNC Buddhists and allies both online and at venues including the Spirit Rock Teacher Training Program, the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, and Brooklyn Zen Center.

Chase Takusei Twichell

Chase Twichell has published eight books of poetry, the most recent of which is Things as It Is (Copper Canyon, 2018). She’s taught at Hampshire College, The University of Alabama, Goddard College, Warren Wilson, and Princeton University. In 1998 she left academia to found Ausable Press, a not-for-profit publisher of poetry that was acquired by Copper Canyon in 2008. Her work has has received awards and fellowships from the NEA, the Artists Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Kingsley Tufts Award. She has been a student in the MRO since 1995.

Cheryl L. Drake-Bowers

Cheryl Drake-Bowers is a somatic professional in the field of bodywork and movement therapy. With over 35 years of experience, she is a certified Bones for Life  (R) and Movement Intelligence teacher, specializing in helping individuals improve their posture, movement, and overall well-being. Over the past decade, she has delved into the Somatic Experiencing (R) work of Dr. Peter Levine Somatic Experience to provide holistic support her clients self healing.

Chimyo Atkinson, Sensei

Rev. Chimyo Simone Atkinson, Sensei was ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition by Rev. Teijo Munnich in 2007, and received Dharma Transmission in 2015, completing Zuisei in 2016. She received her monastic training at Great Tree Temple in North Carolina, Sotoshu International training periods in Japan, the Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya (2012), and Ryumonji Monastery in Iowa (2014). She served as Head of Practice at Great Tree Temple until 2020. She served on the board of directors of the SZBA from 2017-2020 and the ASZB from 2019 to the present.

Choke Yukon Grody

Senior Monastic Yukon Grody began practicing at the Monastery in the late 1980s and ordained with Daido Roshi in 1994. Over the years he has served in many roles at the Monastery and Zen Center including cook, bookkeeper and grounds work. Since 2010, Yukon has been the Monastery’s head gardener, expanding the footprint of the garden and introducing various permaculture techniques.

Chris Yudo Abraham

Chris Yudo Abraham became a senior student in the Mountains and Rivers Order in 2013 after spending some years in residential training at the monastery and at the temple in NYC. He works in software development and runs sitting groups in SE Asia.

Christian McEwan

Christian McEwen is a freelance writer and cultural activist, originally from the UK. Her book, World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down (2011) is now in its eighth printing. She has just completed a new book called In Praise of Listening (which will be available at the workshop)

Christian McEwen

Christian McEwen is a freelance writer and workshop leader, originally from the UK. She is the author of several books, including World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, now in its eighth printing. Her articles have appeared in The Nation, The Village Voice, The American Scholar, and Shambhala Sun, and she has edited several books, including Jo’s Girls: Tomboy Tales of High Adventure; The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing; and Sparks from the Anvil: the Smith College Poetry Interviews. Christian has enjoyed residencies at Yaddo,  MacDowell, Mesa Refuge and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received a fellowship in playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is currently working on a book called In Praise of Listening.

clyde Fusei forth

Fusei has been a certified Pilates teacher since 2005 and a formal MRO student since 2011. She currently teaches at Glo Fitness in Woodstock and on zoom from her home studio in Jefferson NY. Fusei brings more than twenty-five years of experience as a professional dancer and improviser into her Pilates practice…plus a year of making classes on zoom fun and connected!

Danise Eiko Malqui

Danise Eiko Malqui has been practicing with the MRO for over 13 years. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has taught creative writing to undergraduates. Her work centers on women of color and spirituality. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

David Loy

David R. Loy, PhD, is a professor of Buddhist and comparative philosophy, a prolific writer, and a teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. His books include Money Sex War Karma, A New Buddhist Path, and most recently Ecodharma: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis. He is especially concerned about social and ecological issues. In addition to offering workshops and meditation retreats, he is one of the founders of the new Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, near Boulder, Colorado. To learn more about David Loy please visit his website:

Degna Chikei Levister

Degna Chikei Levister works as the Associate Dean for Enrollment Management and Access Initiatives at the City University of New York School of Law and the Executive Director of the Pipeline to Justice program, which provides access to law school to those historically excluded from the legal profession. Chikei has been a practicing member of the MRO for over twenty-five years. She currently serves as a member of the MRO Ethics Committee, the Sangha Harmony Advisory Council and co-leads the MRO’s Women’s Affinity group. She was a former member of the MRO Board of Directors. She lives on the lower east side of Manhattan.

Don Symanski

Don Symanski is a longtime friend of the Monastery and a warm, skillful teacher. He began the study of Kyudo with Kanjuro Shibata Sensei in 1980. He instructs in the Hekiryu Bishu Chikurinha form of Kyudo. Don apprenticed in bow making with Shibata Sensei’s son, Nobuhiro Shibata, in Kyoto. Since 1991, he has made yumi for Kyudo students and taught students the proper use of the yumi and Kyudo as a meditation path.

Dr. Nida Chenagtsang

Dr. Nida Chenagtsang is a traditional Tibetan physician and lineage holder of the Yuthok Nyingthig, the unique spiritual healing tradition of Tibetan Medicine. Alongside his medical education, Dr. Nida trained in Vajrayana with teachers from every school of Tibetan Buddhism, especially in the Longchen Nyingthig of the Nyingma school with his root teacher Ani Ngawang Gyaltsen and in the Dudjom Tersar lineage with Chönyid Rinpoche and Sremo Dechen Yudron. A well-known poet in his youth, Dr. Nida has published numerous books and articles in both Tibetan and English. He is the medical director and principal teacher at the Sorig Khang International Foundation for Traditional Tibetan Medicine and the Sowa Rigpa Institute: School of Traditional Tibetan Medicine; co-founder of the International Ngakmang Institute, established to preserve and maintain the Rebkong ngakpa culture of lay yogi and yogini practice within modern Tibetan society; and co-founder of Pure Land Farms: Center for Tibetan Medicine, Meditation and Rejuvenation in Los Angeles, California.  

Eduardo Duran

Ed Duran (Apache/Tewa/Lakota) is a psychologist who has been working in indigenous communities most of his professional career. He is a Vietnam Veteran who started his academic training after being discharged from the US Navy. He has been involved in Buddhist and traditional Native practices for many years, and his work is informed by traditional Indigenous understanding of heart knowing. Eduardo is the author of Buddha in Redface (Writers Club Press, 2003), a story that deals with these traditions as well as our karmic relationship to the Earth. He is also the author of Healing the Soul Wound: Trauma-informed Counseling for Indigenous Communities and Native American Postcolonial Psychology. He presently lives outside of Bozeman, Montana. Listen to an interview with Ed Duran by sangha members Onren Latorre and Taikyo Gilman in January 2023, on Decolonizing Awakening

Eduardo Gonzalez

Eduardo González, Jr. is a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP) with over 25 years of experience working with diverse not-for-profit and educational institutions to implement and sustain multicultural organizational development initiatives. A key area of focus for Mr. González is assisting staff, managers, administrators and their respective organizations in developing the awareness and skills needed to support and/or provide leadership in organizational change efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Eduardo is the system-wide specialist for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), Youth Development with the Family and Youth Development (FYD) program at Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City (CUCE-NYC) and Research Partnership Development with the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) at Cornell University. Most recently, he has developed and co-facilitated workshops for the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (School of Arts and Science); College at Brockport; Zen Mountain Monastery; the Good Work Institute; ScriptEd; Empire Justice Center; New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health, and the Land Stewardship Project. Eduardo holds a Bachelor’s in Human Services and a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University. Mr. González is a past fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation International Fellowship in…

Elise Diamond

Elise Diamond is a nonbinary and queer musician, performer, parent, cultural competency trainer, and mental health peer specialist. Elise is very excited to share not only how we can create welcoming environments for gender-marginalized people, but also how embracing radical queerness and gender diversity can incite healing and liberation for everyone.

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 35 years under the guidance of her teacher and husband Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is the retreat master of Samten Ling in Crestone, Colorado and has spent over six years in retreat. She holds a degree in anthropology and an M.A. in Buddhist Studies. She teaches throughout the U.S., Australia, Europe, and South America. She is the author of The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom and The Logic of Faith: the Buddhist Path to Finding Certainty Beyond Belief and Doubt. Elizabeth is known for her use of inquiry as a means to reach a place of genuine practice and awakening. She asks audiences to engage in the practice of open questioning with her while she takes a fresh look at all the assumptions and beliefs we have about spirituality. In particular, Elizabeth is fascinated with the Buddha’s essential teachings on the natural principle of pratityasamutpada, dependent arising. Audiences repeatedly comment on how her approach has reinvigorated their meditation practice and the way they relate to their lives as a whole.

Elizabeth Morrison

Elizabeth Morrison is an Associate Professor of Religion teaching classes on on East Asian religious traditions, including Buddhism, Daoism, and popular religious culture in China, Japan, and Korea, at Middlebury College in Vermont. Her research focuses on Chinese Buddhist history, especially the Chan school and Buddhist-Confucian interactions.

Ellery Seifu Eskelin, MRO

Ellery Seifu Eskelin, MRO, has been a professional musician since 1981 in the world of jazz and improvised music. He has traveled internationally and has released recordings documenting collaborations with a broad range of musicians. He has been practicing at the Temple and Monastery since 2014, receiving jukai from Shugen Roshi in 2019. Photo © Luciano Rossetti

Eve Myonen Marko, Roshi

Roshi Eve Myonen Marko is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and the co-founder, with her late husband, Roshi Bernie Glassman, of Peacemakers Circle International, which trains spiritually-based social activists. She has led retreats on American city streets, in Rwanda, and in the Black Hills with Lakota elders; and has acted as Spiritholder at the Zen Peacemakers’ bearing-witness retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau since 1996. She is the resident teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts.

Fanny Brewster

Fanny Brewster, Ph.D., MFA, is a teacher, Jungian analyst, writer and spiritual counselor working with individuals and groups towards creating more satisfying and balanced lives. She teaches at Pacifica Graduate Institute and the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York, as well as working with individuals in private practice. An author writing on culture, Jungian Psychology and creativity, she is also a published poet.

Finn Schubert

Finn Schubert is a writer, storyteller, and epidemiologist. He works as the director of HIV services at a community health center network in Brooklyn. Finn is a board member at Baltimore Wisdom Project and co-author of Developing Trans*Competence: A Short Guide to Improving Transgender Experiences at Meditation and Retreat Centers. He has been leading online and in-person community gatherings for TGNC Buddhists and allies since 2014. His writing has appeared in Places Like Home and Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices, as well as in numerous scientific journals.

Gaelyn Konjin Godwin, Roshi

Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, Roshi, is the Abbot of Houston Zen Center and received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2003. She serves as the Director of the International Division of Soto Zen, North America (a department of Soto Zen Headquarters based in Japan). She trained at San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) in 1985 and continued for 18 years there, including 12 years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. She also trained in Japan, at Hosshinji with Harada Sekkei Roshi in 1991–92, and at Zuioji in 2005; and with Robert Aitken Roshi of the Diamond Sangha in Hawaii in 1995–96.

Gaylon Ferguson

Gaylon Ferguson is a senior teacher in the Tibetan Buddhist lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The author of Natural Wakefulness: Discovering the Wisdom We Are Born With as well as Natural Bravery: Fear and Fearlessness as Direct Path to Awakening, he has led month-long group meditation retreats since 1976. He is core faculty at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. His essay, “Making Friends with Ourselves,” from the pioneering collection Dharma, Color, and Culture, was selected for The Best Buddhist Writing series

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. Shugen entered full-time residential training in 1986 after studying mathematics and receiving a degree in classical music. He received dharma transmission from John Daido Loori, Roshi in 1997. His teachings on Zen, social justice and environmental stewardship have appeared in various Buddhist journals, and The Best Buddhist Writing 2009 (Shambhala Publications). His book of poetry, O, Beautiful End, a collection of Zen memorial poems, was published in 2012.

Gina Sharpe

Gina Sharpe is co-founder of New York Insight Meditation Center for which she was Guiding Teacher for close to 20 years. She discovered the Dharma over 40 years ago and has studied and practiced with teachers in the Zen, Tibetan and Theravada traditions (in Asia and the United States). Gina retired from the practice of law in 1993 (after careers in Motion Picture Production and Public Policy) and has been teaching silent retreats and workshops since 1995 at Retreat and Community Centers and for several years, in a New York maximum security prison for women. She has been a leader in the work of diversity at Buddhist Retreat and Community Centers for 15 years. She is currently a member of Spirit Rock’s Teachers Council and is one of 3 core teachers in its current Teacher Training Program in which there are 18 Trainees of Color.

Grace DiNapoli

Grace started practicing kyudo in 2009 and has held the practice of kyudo at Seiko Kyudojo in Barnet, Vermont since 2012. As overseer of kyudo events at Karmê Chöling she has hosted programs with Don Symanski as well as Kanjuro Shibata XXI.

Gregg Krech

Gregg has been teaching Japanese Psychology for more than 30 years. He has published five books, including, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection (Stone Bridge Press, 2002) which won Spirituality & Health’s award for Best Books of 2002 and has been translated into five languages. He has conducted workshops at Buddhist Centers throughout the U.S. and his work has been featured in Tricycle, Utne Reader, Counseling Today, The SUN magazine and on National Public Radio. He is a member of the North American Naikan Council and conducts retreats and online programs at the ToDo Institute in Vermont for those interested in Japanese Psychology.

Guo Gu

Guo Gu (Dr. Jimmy Yu) is the founder of the Tallahassee Chan Center, the founder of the socially engaged intra-denominational Buddhist organization, Dharma Relief, and a professor of Buddhism and East Asian religions at Florida State University. He was a monk for nine years and one of the late Master Sheng Yen’s senior and closest disciples. He is the author of The Essence of Chan (2012), Passing Through the Gateless Barrier (2016), and Silent Illumination (2021).

Guta Hedewig

Guta Hedewig has studied the teachings of Krishnamacharya with TKV Desikachar at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai. She is a yoga therapist, certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and a yoga teacher in the Krishnamacharya tradition. She also learned Vedic Chanting at the affiliated Vedavani (Vedic Chanting School) and with her mentor, Sonia Nelson. She is also a Yoga Alliance-registered E-RYT 500 and has directed over 30 yoga teacher training programs. She works therapeutically one-on-one, building individualized practices for and endeavors to create an atmosphere of the committed, in-depth study of yoga in all its aspects – postures, breath, meditation, chanting and study of texts – addressing students on a physical, energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual level. We are happy to welcome Guta to the temple for Ango body practice.

Hojin Sensei and Bethany Senkyu Saltman

Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received the priestly transmission (the transmission of the Precepts) from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She is currently the senior MRO Training Coordinator and co-Director of Zen Center of NYC. Hojin Sensei began her artistic career early and has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, opening people up to the wonders and mysteries of the creative process. She has been in full-time residential training at the Monastery since 1990.

Hope Martin

Hope Martin has taught the Alexander Technique for 33 years and operates Hope Martin Studio in New York City.  She is a Senior Teacher who trained Alexander teachers for 25 years at the American Center for the Alexander Technique. She is also a Meditation Instructor and a Focusing trainer. Hope is a close student of Ani Pema Chodron and has been her cook and attendant for 25 years. Her particular passion is in helping her students discover how easeful, upright posture is an expression of their human dignity, confidence, and innate wakefulness.

Hsiao-Lan Hu

Dr. Hsiao-Lan Hu (pronouns ze/hir) is a native of Taiwan and received Ph.D. with distinction from the Religion Department of Temple University. Ze is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of Detroit Mercy and the first person of color, first immigrant, and first queer/trans/non-binary person to serve as Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the university. Dr. Hu teaches broadly in Buddhism, Asian religions, women and gender issues in world religions, cultural studies of religions, and comparative religious ethics. Growing up multiply minoritized in an environment where Mahāyāna influences are pervasive, and having studied Buddhism academically as well as practiced with Chan, Pure Land, Theravāda, and Vajrayāna teachers, ze publishes in the areas of feminist social ethics, intersectionality issues in Buddhism, and pluralist pedagogy.

Ikuko Sano Matsuda

Ikuko Sano Matsuda, is a long-time friend of the Temple and a certified teacher of Ikebana. She studied for five years with a master in the Ohara School in Shizuoka City, Japan.

Ikumi Kaminishi

Ikumi Kaminishi is an Associate Professor Emerita of Asian Art History, specializing in Japanese art and culture with particular focuses on Buddhist art and medieval illustrated hand-scrolls (emakimono). She explores visual art as a paradigm of Buddhist upaya (skillful means), a didactic method of helping others to enlightenment.

James Sanzen Cole, MRO

James Sanzen Cole started working in New York City Public Schools first as an Outward Bound instructor and later as a middle school science teacher. Since 2002, he has worked as a middle school assistant principal. Sanzen is a member of the Earth Initiative. He became a jukai student in 2013.

Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi

Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi has been the teacher for the Zen Community of Oregon since 1985. In 2002 she helped to found Great Vow Zen Monastery where she is the co-abbot, and in 2011 she also helped found Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple in Portland, Oregon. Chozen Roshi has studied and practiced Zen Buddhism since 1973. She received Jukai (lay precepts) in 1975 and priest’s ordination in 1979 from Taizan Maezumi, Roshi. From 1978 to 1983 she lived at the Zen Center of Los Angeles, studying with Maezumi Roshi and directing the Zen Center’s non-profit Medical Clinic. She finished formal koan study in 1983 and was given Dharma transmission (authorization to teach) that same year. An author of many articles about Zen in the periodicals Tricycle and Buddhadharma, her first book, Jizo Bodhisattva, Modern Healing and Traditional Buddhist Practice (Tuttle, 2002), has been re-issued in paperback as Bodhisattva, Guardian of Children, Women and Other Voyagers (Shambhala). She is the author of How to Train a Wild Elephant: And Other Adventures in Mindfulness (Shambhala, 2011), and Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Shambala, 2011). Chozen Roshi is also a pediatrician and world-renowned child abuse consultant,…

Jane Hirshfield, David Hinton, Margaret Gibson, Ocean Vuong, Chase Takusei Twichell, and more

To find out more about the Buddhist Poetry Festival’s featured presenters, please visit us at

Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received the priestly transmission (the transmission of the Precepts) from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She serves as the Training Director for the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of the Zen Center of NYC-Fire Lotus Temple. Hojin Sensei began her artistic career early and has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, opening people up to the wonders and mysteries of the creative process and continues to offer Art Practices as part of her teaching. She has been in full-time residential training at the Monastery since 1990 and now shares her time at the Brooklyn temple.

Josephine Simple, MRO

Josephine Simple is a writer, performer, comedian, and software engineer. She first set foot in Fire Lotus Temple in 2009, and has been a steady part of the sangha since 2014, becoming a student of Hogen Sensei in 2020.  She sees her writing and performance as nothing other than her vow to wake up, to untangle and reweave the strange karma she’s been given (and made for herself), and hopes you’ll laugh with her as her foot gets caught in the threads, and makes her fall on her face.

Joy Brennan

Joy Brennan is a Soto Zen Priest leading the Mount Vernon Zen Sangha, and a college professor who studies and writes about Yogacara Buddhist philosophy, teaching in the Religious Studies department at Kenyon College. Her work focuses on Buddhist understandings of how people unconsciously construct identities and worlds of experience, producing personal and interpersonal suffering in the process. She also thinks and writes about related topics including Buddhist liberation practices, the convergence of secularism and Buddhist ideas and practices, and the intersection of Buddhist analyses of interpersonal suffering with contemporary accounts drawn from race and gender studies.

Judy Lief

Judy Lief is a Buddhist teacher who trained under the Tibetan meditation master, Ven. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. She is the editor of many of Trungpa Rinpoche’s books, including his three volume work, The Profound Treasury of the Ocean of Dharma. Judy is a regular contributor to Lion’s Roar magazine and her many articles can be found there and on her website,

Jules Shuzen Harris Sensei

Jules Shuzen Harris, Sensei, is a Soto priest who has been practicing Buddhism for more than 25 years. He started his Zen practice at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY under John Daido Loori Roshi and then moved west to Utah to study under Dennis Genpo Merzel. In 2002 Shuzen received denkai (transmission of the precepts) from Genpo Roshi, Abbott of Kanzeon Zen Center. He received hoshi in 2006 and shiho (Dharma transmission ceremony) in 2007 from Pat Enkyo O’Hara Roshi and became her second dharma successor. Shuzen Sensei founded Soji Zen Center located in Lansdowne, PA, to offer the community a contemporary Buddhist center providing instruction on Zen meditation, philosophy and contemplation techniques. He is involved with local colleges, health organizations, and yoga groups offering dharma teaching to beginners who want to learn meditation, as well as to experienced practitioners of Zen Buddhism to strengthen their technique and continue training their minds. To that end, Shuzen also holds workshops at the Center, a weekly study group and every Sunday meditation and dharma talks. Shuzen is a member of the White Plum Asanga, The Zen Peacemakers Order, a study group at the Maezumi Institute and the American Zen Teachers Association.

Justin Ward Weber

Justin Ward Weber (they/them) is a Black trans/non-binary composer, pianist, music director and mystic based in Brooklyn who practices at Fire Lotus Temple. Justin has a rich and diverse musical background, but what brings them the most joy is working with those who’ve not yet given their voice a chance to shine. They believe that anyone can enjoy making music and singing if given the space to express themselves.

Kat Rogers

Katherine Rogers is a graduate of Tisch School of the Art’s BFA Acting program, and was a ZenBuddhist nun in Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition. At NYU, she encountered the acting work of Grotowski and connected to his ideas. Now she resides in NYC, privately coaching performers and public speakers on stage presence.

Katherine Jifu Jamieson

Katherine Jifu Jamieson is a graduate of the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Her essays and articles have been published in The New York Times, Newsday, Ms. magazine, Narrative, and Orion, and anthologized in The Best Travel Writing series. She has taught writing and literature, in-person and online, at colleges and universities around the country. She has been a student in the MRO since 2004.

Kathy Lin

Kathy Lin is a PhD candidate at Georgetown University working on a project about religious change, Buddhism, and environmentalism.

Katie Yosha Scott-Childress

Katie Yosha Scott-Childress is a senior MRO student, ceramic artist, and a creative public librarian.

Kazuaki Tanahashi

Kazuaki Tanahashi, born in Japan in 1933, and active in the United States since 1977, is an artist, writer, translator, and peace and environmental worker. As a painter and calligrapher, he has been pioneering the genres of one-stroke painting, multi-color Zen circles and East Asian calligraphy. Kaz has participated in exhibitions worldwide and taught numerous workshops. He has produced over forty books in English and Japanese including his most recent, Painting Peace: Art in a Time of Global Crisis.

Lama Justin von Bujdoss

Lama Justin von Bujdoss is an American vajrayana Buddhist teacher, writer, and is a co-founder of Bhumisparsha an experimental Buddhist sangha along with Lama Rod Owens. He is the author of Modern Tantric Buddhism: Authenticity and Embodiment in Dharma Practice published by North Atlantic Books, and contributor to Buddhism and Whiteness: Critical Reflections published by Lexington Books. From 2016 until December 2021 Justin served as the Executive Director of Chaplaincy and Staff Wellness for NYC Department of Correction where he also served as Staff Chaplain supervising over 30 chaplains and guided wellness programming for staff. Justin also has professional experience in home hospice and hospital settings as a pastoral caregiver. Lama Justin is currently the chaplain for Hart Island, New York City’s public cemetery. Justin was ordained as a repa, a lay tantric yogin in the tradition of Milarepa, by His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche, one of the heart sons of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa. Lama Justin has presented on Buddhist practice at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, Wellesley, Columbia University, has been a visiting instructor at Union Theological Seminary, teaches at Pure Land Farms. Justin is passionate about helping to create the conditions for authentic embodied tantric Buddhist spiritual practice in…

Lama Rod Owens

Lama Rod Owens is considered one of the emerging leaders of his generation of Buddhist teachers. An author, activist, and formally authorized Buddhist teacher in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism, he is the co-founder of Bhumisparsha, a Buddhist tantric practice community as well as a visiting teacher with several Buddhist centers including the Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Brooklyn Zen Center. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Lama Rod has also been a guest faculty member at the Harvard School of Education’s program Mindfulness for Educators. He has been a regular guest on SiriusXM’s Urban Viewhosted by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Karen Hunter. He is also a co-author of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation and author most recently of Love & Rage, exploring transformative anger. Lama Rod can be reached at

Larry Yang

Larry Yang teaches mindfulness and loving kindness retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse, multicultural communities. Larry has practiced meditation for almost 30 years with extensive time in southeast Asia, and a six month period of ordination as a monastic under the guidance of Ajahn Tong. Larry is on the Teachers Council of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and is one of the core teachers of both East Bay Meditation Center (Oakland) and Insight Community of the Desert (Palm Springs). His current focus is training spiritual leadership within Communities of Color and LGBTQI communities. Larry was honored for his work in equity  and inclusion by being selected as the community’s choice for Grand Marshal in the 2016 San Francisco LGBTIQ Pride Parade, whose theme was “For Racial and Economic Justice.” He has been developing community meditation teachers in Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leadership Program for 10 years, and is one of the core trainers for the current Spirit Rock Dharma Teacher Training Program to develop fully empowered Dharma teachers in multicultural communities. In addition, Larry is trained as a psychotherapist and a consultant in cultural competency and organizational awareness—giving workshops and presentations on…

Lawrence Shainberg

Lawrence Shainberg’s books include Four Men Shaking, Ambivalent Zen, Brain Surgeon: An Intimate View of His World, and the novels Memories of Amnesia and One on One. He has numerous essays published in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, the Village Voice, and a Pushcart Prize-winning monograph on Samuel Beckett published in The Paris Review. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He now makes his home in New York City and Truro, Ma.

Linda Shinji Hoffman, MRO

Linda Shinji Hoffman is a lay senior in the Mountains and Rivers Order. She lived for two years in a small temple in Kyoto, Japan studying Noh Theater. She was captivated by the early Zen poets who used nature to express fleeting emotions and the spiritual life. Today, she lives at Old Frog Pond Farm in Harvard, MA, and is the farm’s orchardist. Her memoir, The Artist and the Orchard, was published in 2021.

Lopön Karla Jackson-Brewer, M.S.

Lopön Karla Jackson-Brewer, M.S. has been a student of Lama Tsultrim Allione for 32 years. Karla has been practicing Chöd for over three decades. Lopön Karla has assisted Lama Tsultrim on many Chöd Retreats and has co-taught Chöd since 2013 with Lama Tsultrim and Löpon Chandra Easton. She continues to teach and lead Chöd Practices for the NYC Tara Mandala Sangha which she leads. In October 2012, she received the Chod Empowerment from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. She leads a monthly BBAIPOC meditation practice for Tara Mandala. Karla is a founder of Sine Qua Non: Allies in Healing, an Integrative Therapy Practice in New York City. She is an adjunct Professor in the Women’s & Gender Studies Department and the Africana Studies Department at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Karla is a Public Speaking Coach, and a Star Factor Emotional Intelligence Coach, and has worked with The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She has developed and conducted numerous anti-racism and cultural literacy trainings. Karla is also an initiated priest in the West African system of Ifa.

Marcia Shibata

Marcia Shibata began her study of Ikebana and the Way of the Buddha on nearly the same day in 1974. She was introduced to both disciplines by her teacher Chögyam Trungpa, who, in addition to being a scholar, meditation master, and Dharma teacher, was skilled in many arts, including calligraphy, poetry, ikebana, photography, and traditional Tibetan painting and dance. From 1980 to 1985 Marcia lived in Japan studying Ikebana, tea ceremony, Kyudo, and Japanese language and culture, and maintained close ties to Japan for the next 6 years. She has taught Ikebana in the US and Europe since 1983, and is currently establishing a fresh school of  Kado-Ikebana and Dharma practice in Hamburg, Germany and in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We are grateful to be able to host Marcia at Fire Lotus Temple. Don’t miss the rare opportunity to study with a Master!

Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson is the author of 12 books of poems, most recently Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, which was published in 2018. A poem from that collection, “Passage” appears in The Best Poems of 2017. Her earlier book, Broken Cup (2014), was a finalist for the 2016 Poet’s Prize while the title poem won a Pushcart Prize for that year. In 2019 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut. “Margaret Gibson has created a voice and an art that connect the sensuous experience of the physical world with the inner life,” —Pattiann Rogers. Nationally and internationally acclaimed, Margaret Gibson’s poetry is characterized by an uncommon diversity.  The voice may be predominantly lyrical and meditative, and yet there are award-winning, book-length narratives in which she fully inhabits the consciousness of her personae.  Hers is “a finely crafted lyricism and attention to detail rare among poets today,” wrote Brian Henry.  Gibson herself has said, “Writing poetry is an act of attention and receptivity.  You study whatever it is that strikes your attention—whether a scarlet tanager, river, field, or forest, whether mother, daughter, alcoholic, photographer, lover. You take what’s given into that part of the self that inquires, tests, embraces,…

Marisela Gomez

Marisela Gomez is a mindfulness practitioners (ordained in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing), public health scholar activist, and physician. Of-Afro-Latina ancestry, she lives in Baltimore involved in social justice activism and community building/research. Author of Race, Class, Power and Organizing in East Baltimore, and numerous book chapters, popular and scholarly publications. She blogs at Huff Post and on the intersection of wisdom justice and mindfulness. For a TedTalk on healing racism through waking up (YouTube).

Mark Finn

Mark Finn, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst. He has been active in the conversation between Buddhism and psychotherapy for many years, publishing and presenting widely in this area. He is co-editor of Object Relations Theory and Religion (1992) and a contributor to numerous edited collections on Buddhism and psychotherapy. He is especially interested in the spiritual biographies of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu gurus and the relevance of their stories to our lives. He works in private practice in White Plains, New York, and Manhattan.

Mark Sando Mininberg

Mark Sando Mininberg, Sensei, is president of Hospital Energy and is a dharma successor of Bernie Glassman, Roshi, founder of the Zen Peacemaker’s Order and Dharma brother of Daido Loori, Roshi, founder of Zen Mountain Monastery. Mark previously studied for 20 years with Daido Roshi at ZMM and was a senior lay student.

Maryellen Whittington-Couse

Maryellen Whittington-Couse (she/her) is a white, middle class, woman and mother who directs a regional Migrant Education Program at SUNY New Paltz that serves the children of migrant farmworkers. She has been part of the Opening Doors anti-oppression facilitation team since 2001 that provides training nationally and internationally. She provides consultation and training to educational, medical, human services and community organizations on issues related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She has a Master’s of International Administration from the School for International Training and is a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional.

Matt Angaku Dreyfus

Matt Angaku Dreyfus is a Senior Intermediate Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. He is a core faculty member and teacher trainer at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, where he has taught since 2003. Since 1999, Angaku has travelled to Pune, India regularly to study with the Iyengar family in their home Institute.  He is deeply interested in how Yoga tradition and Zen practice can function together and support each other.

Mayumi Ishino

Mayumi has studied and led body and mind exercises in several countries over 20 years. In her movement classes she combines principles of various methods including Qigong, Yoga, Japanese monastic exercise, and physical therapy, in order to offer simple and accessible exercise for people of all backgrounds.

Michele Laura

Michele Laura is certified to teach Raja Hatha yoga and to practice Yoga Therapy.  She has practiced and taught Yoga and dance over many decades, as well as Isshinryu Karate. Michele has studied with advanced teachers in the lineages of BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois and T.K.V. Desikachar—all students of Krisnhamacharya.  She teaches mostly private and semi-private classes with new students as well as long-standing ones. Find more at Michele’s website.

Michele Luc

Michele Luc (she/her/hers) is a Black-identified, Haitian-American, cisgender female educator currently living in what is historically Lenape territory currently known as Brooklyn.  Ms. Luc is a facilitator, curriculum writer, and educational consultant who has over 25 years of experience in education, health, and human services with a specialty in youth development.  A key area of focus is providing participants with opportunities for engaging dialogue on critical issues such as diversity, equity and inclusion, sexual and reproductive health, and social justice.  She has facilitated interactive workshops for youth and adults throughout the US as well as in Croatia, South Africa, Norway, Haiti & Trinidad.  She currently works at Cornell University Cooperative Extension in NYC as a member of the Training and TA team with ACT for Youth at The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University. Michele possesses a Master’s from Columbia University School of Social Work & a Bachelor’s in social work from New York University.

MK Abadoo

MK Abadoo has been engaged in active training with the Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) since 2009, becoming a formal student of Shugen Roshi’s in 2012. They complement their training with MRO by practicing with People of Color (POC) communities within the Insight Meditation Society, attending annual POC retreats lead by teachers such as Dara Williams, Gina Sharpe, Bonnie Duran, Bhante Buddharakkhita, Devin Berry, Kamala Masters and Jaya Rudgard among others.   They are also an active member of the Still Breathing Zen Sangha, led by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel Sensei. MK Adadoo’s creative work exist at the crux of dance theater, anti-racist cultural organizing, and critical education studies. Considered a “rising star” by Dance Magazine, they craft dance events that combine Africanist, funky/family kitchen dances, and post-modern movement vocabularies with site activating audience and community engagement. MK’s creative practice is rooted in the justice work of Angela’s Pulse, Urban Bush Women, Gesel Mason Performance Projects and the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, where she is a trainer in Undoing Racism® and Community Organizing. Abadoo is also an assistant professor in the Department of Dance + Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and in the Racial Equity, Arts, and Culture Core…

Mn. Gokan Bonebakker

Bear Gokan Bonebakker is a senior monastic and a Dharma Holder. He first came to the Monastery in 1994, and has been in residence since 2007. Gokan is the Operations Director, helps coordinate the National Buddhist Prison Sangha, and works in the orchard. He is married to Shoan Ankele, Osho.

Mn. Rakusan Ricci

Rakusan Ricci is an ordained monastic in the Mountain’s and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism. He is also a carpenter, teacher and published poet.

MRO Sangha

Arising from profound love and deep respect for the earth, the Earth Initiative is an ongoing effort by the sangha of the Mountains and Rivers Order to address the individual, institutional, national and global degradation of our planet. Recognizing that all life springs forth from an intricate, causally-related web of interdependence, every action intended to benefit one part must benefit the whole. This Initiative thus focuses on the whole of the Earth, its creatures, and human society. Issues of social and environmental justice are also within the scope of this Initiative. Through regular meetings and action events, MRO sangha members are invited to meet at Zen Mountain Monastery and the Zen Center of New York City to gather and share information about, and organize responses to, those issues involving the health of the planet that seem most urgent. The Initiative is part and parcel with a broader Dharma Action and Social Justice Initiative that attempts to take on a variety of social and economic issues effecting our communities, our country, and our world.

MRO Seniors

Senior students in the Mountains and Rivers Order have a number of things in common. They have each led a training period (at the request of a teacher) and have each practiced for long enough to see successive generations come through the Monastery, the Zen Center, and our affiliates. They also share a dedication and commitment to helping others find their way in sangha harmony. Beyond these attributes, they represent a diverse age group and come from equally diverse backgrounds. Some work in mental health, or technology. Some are artists, others are librarians. Some have families of their own, others are cloistered monastics. Seniors help guide the training within the MRO through teaching responsibilities, mentoring, and by providing all of us with examples of how to live the bodhisattva path authentically and with integrity. If you would like to contact a senior student, you can use this common email address from which your question will be directed to an appropriate individual.

MRO Teachers

Zazen intensives at the Monastery are led by Shugen Arnold, Roshi, and other teachers in the Mountains and Rivers Order. If you would like to confirm whether a particular teacher will be present at a retreat and offering face-to-face teaching, email the registrar. For more information on our teachers, visit this page.

MRO Teachers and Senior Staff

Many of our retreats are co-led and facilitated by both lay and monastic teachers as well as senior monastics in the order. To learn more about our teachers and staff, visit this page.

Ninsei Ringo

Marie Ninsei Ringo, MRO, has been practicing meditation for over 20 years. She is a member of the Temple Advisory Council and received jukai from Hojin Sensei in June 2022.

One Earth Sangha

Since our founding in 2013 as an engaged project with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, One Earth Sangha has been a leader in cultivating a Buddhist response to ecological crises, providing a hub for teachings, connection, and engagement opportunities.

Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Pamela Ayo Yetunde, J.D., M.A., Th.D., is a pastoral counselor in private practice, and has also worked in spiritual care in hospital, hospice, and mental health care settings.  She is a Community Dharma Leader certified by Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA.  Co-Founder of Center of the Heart ( and founder of Audre: Spiritual Care for Women with Cancer. Ayo earned her Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.  She earned her M.A. in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University in Oakland, CA and her law degree from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington.  She did a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Harvard Divinity School and was the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at University of the West, Fall, 2016.

Patrick Yunen Kelly

Patrick Yunen Kelly is a senior lay student in the Mountains & Rivers Order. He began formal Zen training in 1994.      

Paul Bloom

Paul Bloom studied Chinese philosophy and history at Harvard and Columbia Universities. He has studied and practiced Classical Qigong with Kwan Sai-hung for over 30 years; Zen Buddhism with Roshi Joan Halifax, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara and Sensei Kazuaki Tanahashi; and Tibetan Buddhism with Professor Robert Thurman and Gelek Rinpoche. Paul has led Qigong workshops at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY; Tibet House, NYC; Menla Retreat Center, Phoenicia, NY; Casa Bellavista, Monezuma, Costa Rica; and at Buddhist retreats nationwide. He presently teaches throughout the Hudson Valley, including Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper and at Tibet House in NYC. He lives in Woodstock, NY.  For more info:

Paula Arai

Paula Arai received her Ph.D. in Japanese Buddhism from Harvard University. She is the author of Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra—The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo; Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals; and Women Living Zen: Japanese Sōtō Buddhist Nuns. She enjoys being a mother, creating healing rituals, writing poetry, playing the violin, and walking in the woods.

Paula Josa-Jones

Paula Josa-Jones is a dance artist, choreographer, equestrian, author, movement educator, therapist, and Vipassana practitioner. Her background includes deep research into theater, somatics, improvisation, film, Deep Listening, Laban Movement Analysis, Body-Mind CenteringⒸ, interspecies relationships, equine studies, Authentic Movement and eco-performance. Much of Josa-Jones’s solo performance work arises from her own experience of being gender non-conforming, and movement explorations of the deeply complex architecture of identity and expression. Her writings on movement and dance have been published in Contact Quarterly. Her book, Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body, was published by Trafalgar Square Books.

Pei-Tsen Tao

Pei-Tsen Sohai Tao has been practicing Japanese tea ceremony in the Urasenke tradition for over twenty years, and is an instructor at Urasenke Chanoyu Center in New York City.

Pema Khandro

Pema Khandro is a scholar and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the founder of the non-profit organization Ngakpa International and oversees its projects, the Dakini Mountain Retreat Center,  the Buddhist Studies Institute and the Yogic Medicine Institute as well as Ngakpa House, a charity which supports the education of children and elders in the Himalayas. Pema Khandro’s academic work specializes in the history of Dzogchen and as well as the culture and literature of non-celibate Tibetan yogis. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, a Master’s degree specializing in the study of Tibetan Buddhism and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia. She speaks English, Tibetan, Chinese and Spanish languages. Pema Khandro is an authorized Lama and lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages and one of few westerners recognized and enthroned as a tulku, a Buddhist leader who carries on the lineage of a predecessor. She ordained in the Nyingma tradition and was authorized to pass this non-monastic lineage of ordained Buddhist Yogis, also known as naljorpas and ngakpas on to her students, a task which she has been dedicated to since 1999. As a teacher of Vajrayana, she specializes in Dzogchen, a contemplative and philosophical tradition which emphasize cultivating awareness and presence…

Perry Yung

Perry Yung studied shakuhachi making and playing in Japan, with support from the Japan-US Friendship Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and the International House in Tokyo. He traveled throughout Japan meeting with both Zen and modern shakuhachi makers and master players. He studied primarily with Kinya Sogawa in Japan, among many others, and continues to study with Ralph Samuelson in New York. It is a privilege and honor for him to be sharing shakuhachi with students here in America.

Prabu Gikon Vasan

Prabu Gikon Vasan works in the field of public health and serves on the Monastery’s Board of Directors and Ethics Committee. He lives in Kingston.

Pragata Blaise

Pragata Blaise spent twenty years in India studying with masters Osho and Poonjaji Maharaj, being initiated into many healing and meditation techniques. After six years of intense practice in China, he met Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, who taught him the skills of the Shaolin Wahnam lineage which are not written, but transmitted only from teacher to student. He currently lives in Portugal.

Ray Eigen Ball

Ray Eigen Ball studies contemplative photography in the Nalanda Miksang tradition, which arose in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition in the 1980s, with John McQuade and Miriam Hall, authors of “Looking and Seeing” and “Heart ofPhotography” — the two-volume Way of Seeing series. Eigen has been a Zen student in the Mountains and Rivers Order since 2001, and is the Coordinator of the MRO Affiliate group in Buffalo, NY, where he has taught Miksang photography, as well as at Karmê Chöling, the Shambhala Meditation Center in Vermont. A sample of Eigen’s work can be found here:

Rebecca Li

Dr. Rebecca Li, a Dharma heir in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen, is the founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community.  She started practicing with Master Sheng Yen in the 1990s and served as his translator until his passing in 2009.  She later trained with and received full Dharma transmission from one of his Dharma heirs, Dr. Simon Child, in 2016.  Currently, she teaches meditation and Dharma classes, gives public lectures, and leads retreats in North America and the UK. Her talks and writings can be found at  She is a sociology professor at The College of New Jersey, where she also serves as faculty director of the Alan Dawley Center for the Study of Social Justice.  Her new book is Allow Joy into Our Hearts: Chan Practice in Uncertain Times.

Rev. Trudi Jinpu Hirsch-Abramson

Reverend Trudi Hirsch-Abramson is an ACPE certified chaplain supervisor and an APC certified chaplain. A resident of Zen Mountain Monastery for 12 years, she completed her monastic training in 1998 and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist Priest and received Denkai transmission in the White Plum Sangha. She previously worked for 14 years as a chaplain and supervisor at various hospitals in New York City. For nearly a decade, Reverend Hirsch served as a faculty member and Chaplain Supervisor for the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care in NYC. She retired from serving as Chaplain Supervisor at Vassar Hospital in Poughkeepsie, NY. in 2018, and is presently concentrating on her spiritual practices and creating art.

Rima Vesely-Flad

Rima Vesely-Flad, Ph.D., is a Visiting Professor of Buddhism and Black Studies at Union Theological Seminary, and previously an Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Racial Purity and Dangerous Bodies: Moral Pollution, Black Lives, and the Struggle for Justice, and most recently, Black Buddhists and the Black Radical Tradition: The Practice of Stillness in the Movement for Liberation, NYU Press.

Robert Een

Robert Een is an award-winning composer, singer, cellist and teacher. He composes for film, theater, dance and the concert stage as well as performing and teaching around the world. He is happy to be returning to the Zen Center of New York City.

Robert Seiyu Lanaghan

Bob Seiyu Lanaghan, MRO, has been practicing at the Temple and the Monastery since 2004 and 2005, respectively. He and his husband Matt are dyers, spinners and knitters, who show and sell at local markets. Seiyu teaches high school choir by day and helps with the Tenkozan dye studio when he’s at the Monastery.

Roberta Wall

Roberta Wall, a certified NVC trainer, has offered NVC trainings with Buddhist teachers, retreat centers and monasteries around the world. She received lay ordination from Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 1997, was a founding member of the Zen Peacemaker Order and has studied and trained with many Buddhist teachers and practice centers. She is deeply engaged in social justice, including support of Black Lives Matter, climate justice and Israeli/Palestinian resistance movements. Roberta is an activist, parent, and facilitator. She offers her work in service of healing and transforming our world. Her NVC practice is an integration of activism, contemplation and training in Buddhist, Yogic and Jewish traditions. Blog Website

Robyn Ikyo Love

Robyn Ikyo Love, MRO, is a certified Yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and E-RYT500. She is the founder of the Atha Yoga School (, which offers online Yoga classes, workshops and Yoga therapy. Her training and offerings are all based in Yoga as it has been passed down by Sri Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar, grounded in the concept of viniyoga – yoga that is appropriate for the individual. She has been practicing at the Temple and Monastery since 2004.

Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Ron Hogen Green is a husband, father, grandfather, sports-enthusiast, retired podiatrist, and a lay teacher in the Mountains and Rivers Order. Hogen Sensei formally began practicing Zen in 1978 with Philip Kapleau Roshi, shortly after graduating medical school and entering private practice. In time, Hogen and his wife, Cindy Eiho Green, helped run the Denver Zen Center, an affiliate of Kapleau Roshi’s Rochester Zen Center. He attended his first retreat at Zen Mountain Monastery in 1988, and not long after began studying with Daido Roshi. In 1993, Hogen completed his training in the Kapleau Lineage and was designated a senior student in the Mountains and Rivers Order. He and Eiho left Denver in 1995 and entered full time residency at ZMM. At the Monastery, Hogen served as Director of Operations for Dharma Communications for 10 years and, in 2000, ordained as a monastic. In 2007, Hogen Sensei returned to lay life, spending time with family while continuing to play an active role in the MRO, its practice centers and affiliates. In 2016, he received dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi, becoming the first lay teacher in the Order. He served as co-director of the Zen Center of NYC for a number…

Sandy Joshin Del Valle and Marie Ringo

Joshin Del Valle and Marie Ringo are both formal MRO students and founding members of the Temple Advisory Council.

Sandy Joshin Del Valle, MRO

Sandra Joshin Del Valle was a civil rights lawyer for over twenty years before becoming a high school English teacher. She is a member of the Temple Advisory Council and was a member of the MRO’s Beyond Fear of Differences group. She became a student of Shugen Roshi in 2011 and a jukai student in 2016.

Sangha Harmony Advisory Council

The Sangha Harmony Advisory Council (SHAC) is composed of diverse and dedicated sangha members who will endeavor to represent the needs of historically excluded groups as well as the larger sangha as a whole.  Although SHAC is empowered by the MRO teachers and Board of Directors, its authority ultimately derives from its trusted representation of the entire sangha

Sarah Taisho Sands

Sarah Taisho Sands has been a painter for over 40 years, with careers as both a Professor of Art and a Technical Specialist in Art Materials. In 2013 she was the first openly Trans person to enter practice and long term residency at Zen Mountain Monastery. A formal student since 2014, she received  Jukai with Shugen Roshi in 2019. One of the original founders of the TGNC Sangha Practice and Affinity Group, she helped create and organize the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience, and continues to facilitate residential training sessions on gender issues as part of ZMM’s Beyond Fear of Differences work, as well as working to increase awareness thru TGNC and LGBTQ+ centered programming.

Sebene Selassie

Sebene Selassie is a writer, teacher, coach and consultant. She began studying Buddhism over 25 years ago as an undergraduate at McGill University where she majored in Comparative Religious Studies. She has an MA from the New School where she focused on race and cultural studies. For over 20 years she worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not–for–profits. Her work has taken her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to East Harlem, NYC to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. She is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leader (CDL4) program at Spirit Rock and continues her training with her primary teachers, Thanissara and Kittisaro. She is the former Executive Director of New York Insight Meditation center and currently serves on the boards of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and Sacred Mountain Sangha. Sebene is passionate about making the dharma accessible and relevant for our times and teaches regularly online, in New York City, and nationally. She is a three time cancer survivor.

Seisan, Chikyuu, Fusho, Tenfu, Bryan, and Ishin

Seisan, Chikyuu, Fusho, Tenfu, Bryan, and Ishin are sangha members of the MRO Earth Initiative.

Shoan Ankele, Osho

Danica Shoan Ankele is a Priest and Senior Monastic in the Mountains and Rivers Order. A native of New York City, she first came to the Monastery as a sophomore in college and has been in full time residential training since 2007. She became a senior student in 2009 and took full monastic ordination with Shugen Roshi in 2015. Shoan is the Monastery’s Creative Director and Training Coordinator. She also oversees our Tenkozan line of statues and naturally dyed fabrics, designed and produced on the Monastery grounds. She is married to Mn. Gokan Bonebakker.

Shohaku Okumura, Roshi

Okumura Roshi represents one of a few Japanese Zen masters who traveled overseas to teach Western audiences about Buddhism. He brings with him the truly unique perspective of the practitioner-scholar. Okumura is one of those few people alive today able to convey the essentials of the vast, mostly untranslated (and therefore inaccessible) Japanese Zen canon to Western audiences. Uniquely, he combines this knowledge with the experience of a lifetime practicing zazen. In his writings and lectures, he illuminates Dōgen’s texts from both perspectives. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1948, he studied Zen Buddhism and was ordained by Kosho Uchiyama-roshi in 1970. In Japan Okumura Roshi was a teacher at the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and later at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more than 30 years, he has led sesshins and Dharma study groups in the United States, Japan, Europe and Latin America. Shohaku Okumura is currently the Abbot of Sanshinji (“Three Minds Temple”) located in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the founder and guiding teacher of Sanshin Zen Community, an international Buddhist sangha founded in 1996.

Shugen Roshi & Hojin Sensei

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 1997. He is head of the Mountains and River Order and abbot of both Zen Center of New York City and Zen Mountain Monastery. He has been in full-time residential training since 1986, before which he studied music and mathematics. His teachings have appeared in various Buddhist journals and in The Best Buddhist Writing 2009. A Zen priest, Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received transmission of the Precepts from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She currently serves as MRO training coordinator and co-Director of the Zen Center of NYC. Before entering the Monastery in 1990, Hojin Sensei studied fine art and trained under legendary ceramicist Toshiku Takaezu, among others. Over the years she has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, and continues to teach on the creative process within the Mountains and Rivers Order.

Sil Reynolds

Sil Reynolds guides women in finding meaning in their healing process so that they can come to experience a soul-led life with self-love at its core. She is a mother, crone, psychotherapist, author, teacher, and a mothering and daughtering coach. She has forty-years of experience supporting women in living authentically and consciously. She was a senior student of the renowned author and Jungian analyst Marion Woodman, whom Sil credits for inspiring this work of conscious femininity, healing the mother wound, and experiencing the delight of living in the sacred temple of a feminine body on this Earth.,  

Stephen Jenkins

Stephen Jenkins was trained at Harvard and is Professor Emeritus of Religion at Humboldt State. His scholarship is dedicated to Buddhist concepts of compassion, their philosophical grounding, and ethical implications. He has lived in and taught in Buddhist cultures across Asia from Tibet to Sri Lanka and from India to Japan. His practice life is focused on the wild rivers of northern California.

Sybil Seisui Rosen

Sybil Seisui Rosen is an award-winning playwright, children’s novelist, and short story writer. In 2018 she and co-writer Ethan Hawke adapted her memoir Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley for the movie BLAZE, directed by Mr, Hawke. In the movie she plays her own mother.  Most recently, her children’s picture book, Carpenter’s Helper, was selected by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Rosen currently lives in rural Georgia.

Sylvia Nakkach

Grammy-nominated composer Silvia Nakkach has been an exhilarating and unique bridge between American and South Asian musical traditions for more than 30 years. From a background in North Indian classical music and avant-garde composition, Nakkach has evolved her own style employing elements of minimal melodicism, electronic liminal sonorities, and orbital rhythmic materials that seeks to transcends the ordinary sense of time, and exploring the relation between music and space.

Tenku Ruff

Tenku Ruff, Osho is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in the lineage of Sogaku Harada, with monastic training in Japan and North America. She recently stepped down as President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) after six years of board service, three of which she served as President. Tenku holds a Master of Divinity degree from Maitripa College, is a Board Certified Chaplain, and has strong interests in ethics, inter-Buddhist/interfaith dialogue, and in ways people can support each other and grow through challenges in life. Tenku is Director of Chaplaincy Care at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and the head priest of Beacon Zen Temple in Beacon, New York. You can listen to an interview we recorded with Tenku Ruff when she visited ZMM two years ago.

Tess Kisei Edmonds, MRO

Tess Kisei Edmonds is an artist and MRO student currently in residency at Fire Lotus Temple. She uses found natural materials and textiles to create beings and scenes that invoke healing and connection.

The Mindful Rebels

The Mindful Rebels are a community of engaged meditators committed to ecological and social justice.

Tom Honen Kyle

Honen started practicing kyudo in 2005. He took his ‘first shot’ at Zen Mountain Monastery where he is an MRO training student. For Honen the practice of kyudo is a gateway to his formal Zen studies. He now teaches at his home in Barre, Vermont, has begun to make his own yumis (bows) and yas (arrows), and assists in “First Shot “ programs both at his home and at Karme Choling, a Shambhala training center in Barnet, Vermont.

Tom Matsuda

Thomas Matsuda is a master sculptor and multimedia artist who specializes in Buddhist iconography. His work has been exhibited widely and internationally with many outdoor sculptures installed in public parks, sculpture gardens, and on university campuses. He lived in Japan for 13 years where he studied with renowned Buddhist sculptor Kokei Eri. Tom’s work has been supported by the Japan Foundation and the Ford Foundation, among others. He taught for many years at Pratt Institute and the College of New Rochelle Graduate School. Currently Tom is a professor and department chair at Mount Wachusett Community College in Massachusetts. Learn more at

Trans and Gender Non-conforming (TGNC) and Black, Indigenous, Asian and Peoples of Color (BIAPoC) Sangha

Affinity Group members of the Mountains & Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism (MRO). You can contact the TGNC Affinity Group at, and the BIAPoC Affinity Groups (including Asian Sangha and People of African Descent groups) at

Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Sangha Facilitators

The facilitators are from the TGNC Sangha Practice Group, which is comprised of sangha members within the MRO who advocate for TGNC issues, provide a weekly sitting group, and offer a safe space for social interaction. For more information please email:

Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John

Vimalasara (Valerie Mason-John), is chair of the Triratna Vancouver Buddhist Centre and president of the Buddhist Recovery Network, and a senior facilitator in Compassionate Inquiry, and works as a Compassionate Inquiry Practitioner and a master trainer in conflict transformation, leadership and mindfulness. She is author of nine books, including Detox Your Heart: Meditations for Emotional Trauma — a self-help guide on mindfulness of negative emotions.

Valerie Brown

Valerie Brown, of Afro-Cuban descent, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  She is an international retreat leader, writer, leadership coach, and Principal of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness in daily life. She is an ordained Dharma teacher in the Plum Village tradition and a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  Her books include, The Mindful School Leader:  Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin, 2014).  She leads an annual pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago, Spain to celebrate the power of place.

Valerie Meiju Linet, MRO

Valerie Meiju Linet is a senior student, who began Zen practice as a teenager and has considered the MRO her spiritual home for over 25 years. Meiju has participated on a number of Boards and Committees and has done residential training at the Monastery and Temple during this time. Meiju is a gardener, poet, and clinical social worker. She works as a psychotherapist and lives near the Monastery with her husband, Jeffrey, and their cat.

Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Sensei

Vanessa Zuisei Goddard, Sensei was in full-time residential training at the Monastery from 1995 to 2014, fourteen of those years as a monastic. She is now a lay teacher in the MRO, currently on sabbatical in New York City.


Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (NYC), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century. She was born in Bourgogne, France and moved to New York in 1993. You are encouraged to read her full biography here. Widely regarded as an expert in her field, Vangeline has taught at Cornell University, New York University, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Sarah Lawrence, and Princeton University (Princeton Atelier). Film projects include a starring role alongside actors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania, ‘The Letter” (2012-Lionsgate). In recent years, she has been commissioned by triple Grammy Award-winning artists Esperanza Spalding, Skrillex, and David J. (Bauhaus). She is the author of the critically-acclaimed book: Butoh: Cradling Empty Space, which explores the intersection of butoh and neuroscience. Her work is the subject of CNN’s “Great Big Story” “Learning to Dance with your Demons.” She is featured here in an interview with Tricycle magazine, and here on the BBC in Dessa Darling’s show Deeply Human. She is also the founder of the award-winning program ” The Dream…

Venerable Dr. Pannavati

Venerable Dr. Pannavati, a former Christian pastor, is ordained in the Theravada and Chan traditions and is a Zen Peacemaker Order Dharma Holder. She advocates on behalf of dis-empowered women and youth globally and insists on equality and respect in spiritual life for both female monastics and laity. Ven. Pannavati is co-abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage and founder of Heartwood Refuge, a 90-bedroom Buddhist retreat and residential practice community in Hendersonville NC.

Warren Chikan Bacon

Warren Chikan Bacon studied mime in the 1970’s-80’s ; a student and assistant to Stefan Niedziałkowski, NYC and Paris. He has offered solo performances and lecture demonstrations in NYC and Paris and been an assistant to Marcel Marceau in NYC workshops. He does lecture demonstrations at SUNY Broome College and has been an MRO student a few decades.

Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi

Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao is the Abbot Emeritus (1999-2019) of the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA), having succeeded the late Roshi Bernie Glassman as the third abbot in 1999. She currently serves ZCLA as Head Teacher and Head Priest. She ordained in 1983 as a Zen priest and trained with her root teacher, Venerable Taizan Maezumi, at ZCLA until his death in 1995. She became a Dharma Successsor of Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1996 in Yonkers, NY, and is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, which promotes spiritually based social activism.

Wendy Garling

Wendy Garling is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA specializing in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Woman Who Raised the Buddha, the Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati, with foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2021, Shambhala Publications) and Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications), a groundbreaking new biography of the Buddha that relates his journey to awakening through the stories of Buddhism’s first women. A Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, Wendy has studied with teachers of different schools and lineages, foremost her refuge lama His Holiness the 16th Karmapa (who gave her the name Karma Dhonden Lhamo), her kind root lama, the late Sera Je Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama whom she first met in 1979. In 1991-92, she coordinated the Georgia chapter of the International Year of Tibet bringing Tibetan cultural and religious events to Atlanta and Emory University for the first time. Pilgrimage has played an important role in Wendy’s life: in November 2023 she led a 9-day pilgrimage in Nepal and India, “In the…

William Kando Johnston

William Kando Johnston started his formal practice of calligraphy while a graduate student in Japan in 1978. Since then, he has continued practicing calligraphy, most recently studying under Kaz Tanahashi. He is professor of Japanese history at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, but currently is the E.O. Reischauer Visiting Professor at Harvard University. He has been practicing Zen for over thirty years, and became an MRO student in 2001.

William Waldron

Bill Waldron teaches courses on Buddhism and psychology at Middlebury College, Vt., and intermittently at Rang-jung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal. His work focuses on the classical Yogacara school of Indian Buddhism in dialogue with modern thought. His book, The Buddhist Unconscious: The Ālaya-vijñāna in the Context of Indian Buddhist Thought, was published in 2003. His introduction to Yogācāra Buddhist cognitive theory is forthcoming. Get to know his work by visiting this link.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Osho

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is an author, ordained Zen Buddhist priest, teacher, seer, poet, artist, and drum medicine woman. She is guided by deep intuition and through her capacity for lucid dreaming. The essence of all her transmissions come together in her talks and books. Zenju Earthlyn Marselean Manuel, was born in Los Angeles, California to  parents that migrated from Louisiana. She was raised with a younger and older sister, in the Church of Christ where she was an avid reader of the Bible and adored the true teachings on Christ’s path well into adulthood. For a brief time she attended ceremonies with a tribe/family of diviners from Dahomey. After 15 years in the Nichiren tradition/Soka Gakkai, she eventually followed the path of Soto Zen for many more years and was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. For 17 years she participated in Sundance Lakota prayer ceremonies. The evolution of her life continues in which she welcomes new gateways.