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HomeCity CenterTeachersZen Teachers & Practice Leaders at City Center

Zen Teachers & Practice Leaders at City Center

The following Zen teachers are regularly available for practice discussion at City Center. If you are new to practice or have an ongoing meditation practice, you are encouraged to speak regularly with one of our practice leaders. First-time practice discussions may be arranged through the front office at 415.863.3136.


Shosan Victoria Austin
Shosan Victoria Austin began practicing both Zen and yoga in 1971. In the Soto Zen tradition, she is entrusted as a Dharma heir in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, an international priest of the Soto School, and a Dharma teacher at San Francisco Zen Center. She trained in the U.S., in India, and in Japan. In the Iyengar tradition, she is certified as an Intermediate teacher.



Laura Burges
Laura Burges, a Lay Entrusted Buddhist Teacher, lectures and leads retreats at different practice centers in Northern California. A teacher of children for 28 years, her work has been featured on PBS in the documentary The Digital Divide and in the book Teach Our Children Well. She co-founded the Sangha in Recovery program at San Francisco Zen Center.

Konin Melissa Cardenas
Konin began the practice of Zen meditation in 1987, and was ordained a Soto Zen priest in Japan by Sekkei Harada Roshi in 2007. She lived at Tassajara and City Center for several years. Shosan Victoria Austin is her Senior Practice Leader. Currently Konin is the leader of “Dharma en EspaŮol,” and a Spiritual Care Counselor at Pathways Home Health and Hospice in Concord, California.



Connie Cummings
Connie Cummings, a resident priest of Zen Center, began practice with Misha Merrill while working as a software developer and engineer in Silicon Valley in the 1990’s. She is a student of Tenshin Reb Anderson and served as Shuso (Head Student) in 2011. She is currently Corporate Secretary and lives at City Center.



Anshin Rosalie Curtis
Anshin Rosalie Curtis came to Zen Center for the first time on January 2, 1982 for a Saturday Dharma talk. She has held various staff and officer positions and was Zen Center's graphic designer for ten years in the 1990s. She completed her shuso training as a lay practitioner in 2004, was ordained as a priest a year later, and received Dharma transmission from Michael Wenger in 2011. Currently she is the tanto, head of practice, at City Center.



Eijun Linda Cutts (Central Abbess)
Eijun Linda Cutts came to San Francisco Zen Center in 1971, was ordained as a priest in 1975, and has resided at Green Gulch Farm since 1993. In 1996 Linda received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson. Having served as Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2007, she was appointed Abiding Abbess of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in 2010, and Central Abbess of SFZC in 2014. She continues to teach and lead practice periods and retreats at Tassajara, Green Gulch, Mexico, Italy and elsewhere, and has been leading Yoga-Zen retreats and workshops for many years.



Jisan Tova Green
Jisan Tova Green, LCSW, currently serves on the Board of Directors as Vice President of San Francisco Zen Center. Previously she held positions as City Center Director and as a hospice social worker. A practice leader at San Francisco Zen Center, Tova co-founded Zen Center's Queer Dharma Group.



Ryushin Paul Haller (Urban Temple Dharma Teacher)
Ryushin Paul Haller is a dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman and has taught at Zen Center for over 20 years. He served as abiding abbot at City Center from 2003 to 2012, and remains at City Center as urban temple dharma teacher. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he teaches throughout the US and Europe and has led mindfulness programs to assist with depression and recovery. Paul has also taught in prisons and has a long involvement with the Zen Hospice Project. He has been practicing yoga for 25 years.



Zenkei Blanche Hartman (Senior Dharma Teacher)
Zenkei Blanche Hartman began sitting in 1969 at the Berkeley Zen Center with Sojun Mel Weitsman and in San Francisco with Suzuki Roshi. She was priest ordained in 1977 by Zentatsu Baker and received dharma transmission with Sojun in 1988. Zenkei was the first woman Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, serving in that position from 1996-2003.



Shundo David Haye
Shundo David Haye began his practice in 2000, and has lived at City Center and Tassajara since then. He was ordained as a priest in 2009, served as head monk at Tassajara in the fall of 2012, and is currently serving as the director at City Center.


Jamie Howell
Jamie Howell, Kogen Seido, began his Zen Practice with Joshu Sasaki Roshi in 1979 at the Mount Baldy Zen Center. In 1983, when he was living in San Francisco and his eldest daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, Jamie began to study with Michael Wenger at the San Francisco Zen Center. He was Chairman of the Board of San Francisco Zen Center in 2004 and 2005 and was shuso at City Center in 2006. In 2011, Jamie received lay Dharma Entrustment from Michael Wenger.



Tokuden Shinki Mark Lancaster
Tokuden Shinki Mark Lancaster has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1988. Mark was Shuso in 1997, ordained by Michael Wenger in 2002 and received Dharma Transmission from Michael Wenger in 2006. He is currently the Director of People Development.



Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at Zen Center since 1987. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts. She received a Masters of Theology from the University of San Francisco. She is Curriculum Coordinator in SF Zen Center's Abbots' Department.



Lee Lipp
Lee Lipp, PhD, has a therapy practice in San Francisco and supervises at Haight Ashbury Psych Services. She has been a member of Thich Nhat Hahn’s Order of Interbeing, practicing Zen and Vipassana since 1990. She served as shuso (head student) at San Francisco Zen Center for the 2013 Winter Practice Period. Having taught in psychology graduate programs for 16 years, her most recent work has included being Diversity Coordinator at SFZC. She has taught Transforming Depression and Anxiety classes in venues that include Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, Zen Hospice Project, Tassajara Mountain Center, San Francisco Zen Center, East Bay Meditation Center, Gay Men’s Buddhist Sangha, SF Mental Health Association and San Francisco Department of Mental Health.

Zesho Susan O'Connell
Zesho Susan O'Connell is a Zen teacher with 25 years of meditation experience. She has lived at Zen Center since 1995, was ordained as a priest in 1999 by Tenshin Reb Anderson, and currently serves as president. She started, with two other partners, her own business as an independent feature film producer with offices in San Francisco and L.A., and continued that business for 25 years. She has helped to produce over 10 video/film projects about Zen Center and its teachers.



Daiyu Judith Randall
Daiyu Judith Randall came to Zen Center in 2000 after working in Quaker organizations and hospice social work. She was ordained as a priest by Paul Haller in 2004 and lived and practiced at Tassajara for 10 years. Currently she is assistant to the Abiding Abbot at City Center.



Rinso Ed Sattizahn (Abiding Abbot, City Center)
After meeting Suzuki Roshi in 1970, Rinso Ed Sattizahn lived at Tassajara and later served as Zen Center's vice president, president, and board chair. From 1983 to 2000 Ed held various executive positions in the microcomputer software industry. In 2003, he was shuso at Green Gulch Farm, and in the same year co-founded Vimala Sangha in Mill Valley with Lew Richmond. Now an ordained priest with dharma transmission (from Lew Richmond), he remains the guiding teacher at Vimala Sangha Mill Valley. He became abiding abbot of Zen Center's City Center in March 2014.



Jeffrey Schneider
Jeffrey Schneider is a priest at Zen Center, where he has lived, worked and practiced since 1978. He has taught and led retreats at a number of Buddhist centers, including ones in Texas, Missouri and North Carolina. The founder of the Zen Center recovery programs, he is currently the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator.



Keiryu LiÍn Shutt
Keiryu Liên Shutt received dharma transmission from Zenkei Blanche Hartman in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam, she began her meditation practice in the Insight tradition of Spirit Rock. She was a founding member of the Buddhists of Color in 1998. Her Soto Zen training began at Tassajara monastery where she lived from 2002-2005, after which she practiced monastically in Japan and Vietnam. Drawing from her monastic experiences, she endeavors to share ways in which the deep settledness of traditional practices can be brought into everyday life.

Zachary Smith (Anshi Daigi)
Zachary Smith, Anshi Daigi, has been practicing since 1993, took jukai in 1995, and was shuso under Abbot Paul Haller in Fall of 2007. He currently directs North Mountain Zendo, a zazenkai group in North Beach. In addition to his involvement with Zen, Zachary is a husband and father (of 4), an engineer, a musician, a bike fanatic, and an avid but mediocre poet. He may be the only person in the history of Zen in the West to have interrupted a residential practice period to tour with a rock band.


Teah Strozer
Teah Strozer is a dharma heir in Suzuki Roshi's lineage. She is a practice leader and member of the Elders Council at the San Francisco Zen Center. Until recently she taught meditation and ethics at the Bay School high school as the school's Chaplain. She is the Guiding Teacher at the Brooklyn Zen Center.



Do-On Robert Thomas
For 21 years Robert has been studying and practicing Zen Buddhism, and he received dharma transmission from Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 2009. He served as president of San Francisco Zen Center for seven years, overseeing the three temples. His teaching is focused on helping people extend the deeply grounded yet expansive awareness of Zen meditation into the activities of daily life. He is also a visiting Dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM.



Shokan Jordan Thorn
Shokan Jordan Thorn has been a student at Zen Center for 30 years. Ordained by Richard Baker in 1977, he lives at City Center. He has lived at all three practice centers, has served in a variety of roles on senior staff and as an officer, and was shuso at Tassajara. He served as City Center Tanto (Head of Practice) and became SF Zen Center's Treasurer/CFO in September 2011.



Kanzan David Zimmerman
Kanzan David Zimmerman has been practicing Zen for 20 years and was ordained by Rev. Teah Strozer in 2006. Having spent eight years at Tassajara, where he held a number of positions including guest manager, meditation hall manager and director, he now lives at City Center where he is Program Director. He supports Dr. Lee Lipp with classes and workshops on "Transforming Depression and Anxiety."