Zen Teachers & Practice Leaders at Green Gulch
The following Zen teachers are regularly available for practice discussion at Green Gulch Farm Zen 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. For first-time practice discussions, contact the office at 415.383.3134.
Furyu Nancy Schroeder (Abiding Abbess, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center)
A resident of Zen Center for over 35 years, in 2014 Furyu Nancy Schroeder became abiding abbess at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. Fu has held most of the monastic positions at Zen Center and has been an active supporter of programs for children, people of color, the gay and lesbian community, and the interfaith community. In 2008 she was elected to the Marin Women's Hall of Fame, and in 2010 she was appointed to the Board of the Marin Community Foundation. She received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 1999.
Thiemo Blank began Zen practice in Germany in 1989. In 2008, he decided to leave his job in medical research to move to Green Gulch Farm. He was ordained as a Soto Zen Priest in 2010 by Tenshin Reb Anderson and served as shuso in Fall 2016. Since Spring 2018 Thiemo has been the director of Green Gulch Farm, where he lives with his wife Stephanie and their two children, Miro and Lucia.
Sonja Gardenswartz began practice in 1981 and came to San Francisco Zen Center in 1991. She has practiced continuously at both Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.
Tenshin Reb Anderson (Senior Dharma Teacher)
Tenshin Reb Anderson practiced with Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970 and gave him the name Tenshin Zenki ("Naturally Real, The Whole Works"). He received dharma transmission in 1983 and served as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center from 1986 to 1995. Tenshin Reb Anderson continues to teach at Zen Center and lives at Green Gulch Farm.
Eijun Linda Cutts (Senior Dharma Teacher)
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. Linda formally stepped down from the Central Abbess position in March 2019.
Yuki Kobiyama was born and grew up in Japan. She encountered Zen practice for the first time after she came to the U.S. to pursue a university education. After she received a Ph.D. in botany, she worked on several organic farms and gardens including Green Gulch Farm. She was ordained by Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2010, and served as shuso under his guidance in 2017 at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. She also trained in Soto Zen temples in Japan after her ordination.
Sukey has lived at Green Gulch for many years and serves as "land advocate," caring for the watershed and the grounds.
Jiryu Rutschman-Byler is a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, with dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman. He lives and teaches at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, where he is the tanto/head of practice, and is the head teacher of the Buddhadharma Sangha of San Quentin State Prison. Jiryu has trained in Zen temples in the US and Japan since 1996. He also holds a master's degree in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley (2014), where he worked under the mentorship of the Group in Buddhist Studies on Buddhist texts in classical Chinese and modern Japanese. His thesis research focused on Nishiari Bokusan and the development of Soto Zen in Japan during the Meiji Period (1868-1912).
Mick Sopko started practicing at Zen Center in 1977. He received lay dharma entrustment from Zoketsu Norman Fischer in 2005 and has held various positions at Green Gulch including head of the meditation hall, co-director and, currently, bread baker.
Sara Tashker has been an organic farmer and residential practitioner at San Francisco Zen Center since 2002. From 2007 she has helped lead Green Gulch Farm’s six-month Organic Farm and Garden Apprenticeship for people interested in integrating residential Zen Buddhist practice and hands-on training in organic farming and gardening. She loves that her every activity is the fertile ground of Zen practice: growing food, relating to community, being a mother, appreciating the breath and body. In fall 2011 she served as Head Student (shuso) at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center with Abbot Myogen Steve Stücky and Sojun Mel Weitsman. She currently lives and practices at Green Gulch Farm with her husband and their sons Frank and Dusty.
Steve Weintraub was ordained as a Zen priest in 1973, and he has been teaching Buddhism at San Francisco Zen Center, Tassajara, and Green Gulch Farm for over 30 years. In 1994, he received Dharma transmission - full authorization as a teacher - in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. Steve is the guiding teacher for Presidio Hill Zen Group, which meets weekly on Thursday evenings in San Francisco. Steve also has an MFT license, and a private psychotherapy practice in San Francisco and Mill Valley.
Meiya Wender has practiced at Zen Center since 1972 and received Dharma Transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson in 2002. She has held many monastic positions at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and Green Gulch, including director, ino, tenzo, and tanto. She has studied the Way of Tea for many years, including a year at the Urasenke Midorikai program in Kyoto, and teaches Tea in Sowing the Moon Teahouse at Green Gulch.