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.
Kiku Christina Lehnherr (Senior Dharma Teacher)
Kikū Christina Lehnherr started Zen practice in Switzerland in 1976. She has degrees in physical therapy and clinical psychology and practiced both in her home country. To deepen her Zen practice and to study Sensory Awareness with Charlotte Selver she moved to San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Farm in 1988. A student of Tenshin Reb Anderson, she was ordained as a priest in 1993, and received dharma transmission from him in 2005. In her last two temple positions she served as head of practice (tanto) from 2003 to 2006 and as abiding abbess from 2012 to 2014 at City Center/Beginner's Mind Temple.
Jisan Tova Green
Jisan Tova Green, a Zen priest with 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.
Nancy Petrin began Zen practice in 1996 through the Organic Farm and Garden Apprenticeship at Green Gulch Farm, where she lived for nine years. During her time as a resident at Green Gulch, Nancy led the Children's Program and was also a mentor for the Coming of Age Program. After leaving Green Gulch Farm Nancy worked as a birth and postpartum doula, accompanying many couples in their transition to parenthood. She served as head student (shuso) with Abbot Ed Sattizahn in 2014. She resides at City Center with her partner and 19-year-old daughter.
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.
Rinso Ed Sattizahn (Central Abbot)
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 and San Francisco Zen Center's Central Abbot in March 2019.
Ryushin Paul Haller (Urban Temple Dharma Teacher)
Ryushin Paul Haller is a dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman and has been teaching for over 30 years. He served as abiding abbot at City Center from 2003 to 2012, and is currently the Urban Temple Dharma Teacher at City Center. 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 30 years.
Sojun Mel Weitsman (Senior Dharma Teacher)
Sojun Mel Weitsman began practice at the old Sokoji Temple in San Francisco in 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. He received priest ordination from Suzuki Roshi in 1969 at Berkeley Zendo which he founded in 1967 with Suzuki Roshi's blessing. In 1984, he received dharma transmission from Suzuki Roshi's son, Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi. From 1988 to 1997, he was co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. He is currently a San Francisco Zen Center senior dharma teacher and continues as Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center.
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.
Keido Keith Baker
Keido Keith Baker has been practicing Zen for many years, and began practice at Zen Center in 2003. Ordained by Ryushin Paul Haller, he has practiced at Tassajara and City Center and held various temple positions. He is currently working in the Reservations Finance Department and served as the fall 2013 shuso at City Center. Keith crossed over from hard of hearing to profoundly deaf in 2009, and is exploring the integration of Deafness, Deaf culture, and Zen practice.
Bryan Clark graduated from UC Berkeley in 2003 and moved to Green Gulch Farm three weeks later. After some years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, he moved back to GGF to train as a priest with Tenshin Reb Anderson, with whom he ordained in 2010. He was shuso in the winter of 2018 at Green Gulch Farm with Abiding Abbess Fu Schroeder. After completing several years of training at Green Gulch, he moved to City Center in November 2018 where he is currently living out his dreams in the accounting office.
Anshin Rosalie Curtis
Anshin Rosalie Curtis has been practicing at SFZC since 1982 and has lived at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and City Center in San Francisco. She was ordained as a priest in 2005 and received dharma transmission from Dairyu Michael Wenger in 2011. She has held numerous staff and officer positions, including being San Francisco Zen Center’s principal graphic designer for over ten years and treasurer/CFO. Recently she served as head of practice (tanto) at City Center.
Shinchi Linda Galijan, Ph.D.
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.
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1987. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts. She trained as a chaplain at UCSF and received a Masters of Theology from the University of San Francisco. She is the Web Editor at SFZC.
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.
Arlene Lueck recently served as Tanto, or head of practice, at Green Dragon Temple. She was ordained in 1996 and received Dharma Transmission from Norman Fischer in 2005.
Sozan Michael McCord
Sozan Michael McCord is a Zen Buddhist priest ordained by Ryushin Paul Haller in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Michael holds a BA in Theology from Ambassador University and worked as a volunteer for their non-profit Ambassador Foundation in Amman, Jordan, doing vocational training for mentally challenged individuals. He worked in the technology sector for many years in product management and business development and was a founding member of Exatt.net in Bangalore, India. Michael was working as the manager of retail lending for Citibank Silicon Valley and San Francisco when he started training at San Francisco Zen Center in 2007. He has lived and worked at SFZC full-time since 2009 and has served as Ino (Head of Meditation Hall) and Tenzo (Head Cook) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Michael is currently the Program Director of the San Francisco Zen Center.
Zesho Susan O’Connell
Zesho Susan O’Connell is a Zen teacher with 30 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 Spiritual Director of the Zen-Inspired Senior Living Community Project. In June 2017, she received Dharma transmission from Tenshin Anderson. 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.
Keiryu Liên Shutt
Rev. Keiryu Liên Shutt, LCSW, was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam. Her meditation practice began in the Insight tradition and led her to co-founding the Buddhists of Color. She started her Soto Zen training at Tassajara, San Francisco Zen Center's monastery. Ordained and Dharma transmitted by Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Liên has practiced monastically in Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Having worked for many years as a social worker in the field of homelessness, Liên’s teachings are focused on making Zen accessible to all, bringing the deep settledness of traditional practices into everyday life.
Zachary Smith (Anshi Daigi)
Zachary Smith, Anshi Daigi, has been practicing since 1993. He was shuso in 2007 under Abbot Paul Haller, who ordained him as a priest in 2014. 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 four), 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.
Onryu Mary Stares
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 for the Winter 2015 Practice Period at Tassajara, recently served as director of City Center, and is now tanto at City Center.
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.