Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao
Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao is the Abbot Emeritus (1999-2019) and Head Teacher and Head Priest at ZCLA. She is currently developing the Open Palm School of Zen at ZCLA.
Roshi Egyoku first encountered Zen practice in 1975, when she did a seven-day Zen sesshin on a dare. Following this plunge, she devoted her life to the Dharma, finding her way to ZCLA and the Venerable Taizan Maezumi Roshi in 1978. In 1982, she ordained with the Venerable Taungpulu Sayadaw in Bodh Gaya, India. In the following year, she ordained as a Zen Priest with Maezumi Roshi and trained with him until his death in 1995. She continued her training in Yonkers, NY, with Roshi Bernie Glassman from whom she received Preceptor and Dharma Transmission (Shiho) in the White Plum Lineage in 1996, and the Seal of Approval (Inka) in 2004. She is a founding member of the Zen Peacemaker Order.
Roshi is the co-editor with Roshi Eve Myonen Marko of Appreciate Your Life by Taizan Maezumi (Shambhala 2000), and co-editor with Sensei John Daishin Buksbazen of the newly published editions by Wisdom Publications of On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, and Mind (2002) and The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment (2007). Her recent book, The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up in the Land of Attachments, is co-authored with Roshi Eve Myonen Marko and published by Monkfish Publishers (2020).
An interview about her experiences along the path can be heard at http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma9/dharmatalks1.html. Her oral history is in the UCLA Oral History Archives on Southern California Buddhism.
Roshi Egyoku grew up in Hawaii in a family of Japanese and Portuguese ancestry. Her interest in spirituality was fueled at an early age by a fierce drive to find meaning in the context of differences. She attended the University of Washington, Seattle, where she received degrees in East Asian Studies and Library Science. Her life partner, Eberhard Fetz, is a neuroscientist at the University of Washington.
She is a member of the White Plum Asanga (WPA), the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) and the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists (ASZB). She has served on Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s Interfaith Council, is a Board member of the Center for Collective Wisdom and an advisor to the Center for Council.
Roshi Kipp Ryodo Hawley
Roshi Ryodo joined ZCLA in 1980 and received Jukai from Maezumi Roshi in the following year. Since 1999, he has been assisting Roshi Egyoku Nakao as a lay teacher. Roshi Egyoku empowered Ryodo as an independent Zen teacher in 2007, made him a lay preceptor in 2015, and gave him inka shomei , or final seal of approval, in 2019. He has had a life-long interest in the spiritual path, beginning with his readings of the Tao Te Ching at age eleven, The Religions of Man by Huston Smith, and Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen, which sparked his interest in Zen.
After attending the composition program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he also studied Philosophy of Religion under Dr. Peter Kreeft, Roshi Ryodo spent many years as a professional musician. From 1988 to 2018 he has made a living as a software developer, winning PC Magazine Editor’s Choice award for his groupware application “TeamTalk” along the way. Roshi Ryodo lives in Westchester, CA, with his wife and son.
Roshi Ryodo leads the Westchester Zen Circle, an affiliated sitting group near Los Angeles International Airport. He also offers workshops on Zen Mindfulness, which he originated in 2002, and is the author of Three Steps to Mindfulness: Bringing Zen Awareness Into Your Life and the creator of the Zen Mindfulness Cloudbook on the World Wide Web.
This year, Roshi Ryodo became President of the White Plum Asanga (WPA), an affinity organization of peers in the lineage of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi. The Asanga provides opportunities for amicable association, the sharing of common experiences, and for members to support one another through online various online discussion forums.
Sensei Deborah Kyobai Faith-Mind Thoresen
Sensei Faith-Mind began her questioning of life and practice as a youth when her brother began a serious meditation and yoga practice. As a young child the seed and curiosity of what meditation was became planted. A very powerful experience in a Yoga practice at 16 opened the idea that there is more — more of what was illusive yet planted deeply.
Life got busy and involved, so it was not until the mid 1980’s that Sensei began her practice. The Zen Center was at a very transitional time and therefore she was drawn to The Mountain Center in Idyllwild, which was a part of ZCLA at the time. At the Mountain Center Zazen was the teacher, as was nature and the beauty of the surroundings. As it was a very transitional time for the Zen Center, it was easy for one to drift away, which happened.
Fourteen years later, there was an article in the LA Times announcing that a woman,Roshi Egyoku Nakao was becoming the Third Abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Sensei Faith-Mind’s partner shared this article with her and that began an intense commitment to the study of the Dharma and service to ZCLA for the past 21 years.
Sensei Faith-Mind became the fourth Abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles in 2019. She began her studies with Roshi Egyoku in 1999, became a Dharma Holder in 2016 and received Dharma Transmission (Denbo) from Roshi Egyoku in 2018. Faith-Mind has taught many of the classes required for Jukai and enjoys carpentry, gardening and sharing the Dharma with everyone that shows up.
Sensei Faith-Mind retired in 2012 from 40 years working for United Airlines. She lives in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles.
Sensei Katherine Daiki Senshin Griffith
Sensei Senshin started studying Zen in the Rinzai tradition at New York Zendo Shobo-Ji in Manhattan in 1987. At Dai Bosatsu Zendo, she received Jukai in 1994 from Eido Shimano Roshi, with whom she studied until 2000 when she moved to Los Angeles. She became a member of ZCLA in 2001 and began her studies with Roshi Egyoku. During her time in New York, Sensei Senshin also studied with various Tibetan teachers and at Fire Lotus Zendo. She also volunteered for ten years at the Ethical Cultural Society’s Homeless Shelter.
She joined the staff as Program Steward in 2010 and the Teacher’s Circle in 2016. Sensei Senshin was empowered as Dharma Holder in 2018 and was empowered as an independent Zen teacher and Preceptor in 2019. She is a member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association (LZTA) and the the White Plum Asanga (WPA).
Born and raised in Texas, Sensei Senshin moved to New York in 1978 to attend the Juiliard School’s Drama Division, where she trained as an actress and received the Michele Saint Denis Award for Outstanding Achievement. She also trained in the rigorous physical theatre of Tadashi Suzuki with his company in Toga-mura Japan. Currently, she is a professional actor, comedic performer and writer. Through Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, she also works as an artist-in-residence with at risk kids all over the Los Angeles area and with incarcerated teenagers in the probation camps.
Senshin lives in Torrance, CA with her spouse, Darla Myoho Fjeld.
Sensei Mark Kizan Shogen Bloodgood
Growing up in the Episcopal Church, Sensei. Mark Kizan Shōgen Bloodgood aspired to become an Episcopal priest during his pre-college years. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a “subtle feeling” nudged Shogen to read Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, Shunryū Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Philip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen, Huston Smith’s The Religions of Man and many of the writings of Alan Watts and D.T. Suzuki. Thus, began a love of Eastern religion and philosophy that continues to this day. During this period Shōgen spent time in the Religious Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, California, where he furthered his studies of religion, existentialism, and Buddhism.
On his 50th birthday, during a camping trip in Big Sur, he read an article in Tricycle magazine celebrating the anniversary of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha. Shōgen realized he needed to deepen his meditation practice and look for a teacher. In October of 1999, he found his way to the Zen Center of Los Angeles and became a student of Roshi Egyoku Nakao. He received Jukai (lay ordination) in 2005, Tokudo (priest ordination) in 2012, Denkai (preceptor transmission) in 2016, was empowered as a Dharma Holder (Hoshi) in 2019 and received Dharma Transmission (Denbo) in 2019.
Sensei Shōgen has led the San Luis Obispo Zen Circle (SLOZC), an affiliated ZCLA sitting group, for over fifteen years. He also leads a prison sangha at the California Men’s Colony (CMC), where inmates meet weekly for service, meditation, and Dharma teachings.
He lives in Los Osos, California, with his wife, Karla.
For the Statement of Ethics for ZCLA Teachers, click here.