visiting teachers

Tenshin Reb Anderson

Reb AndersonTenshin Reb Anderson visits Brooklyn Zen Center to give dharma talks and lead five-day meditation retreats. He is a lineage-holder in the Soto Zen tradition.

Born in Mississipi, he grew up in Minnesota and left advanced study in mathematics and Western psychology to come to San Francisco Zen Center in 1967. He 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’s three training centers (City Center, Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center) from 1986 to 1995. Tenshin Roshi continues to teach at Zen Center, living with his family at Green Gulch Farm. He is author of Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains: Dharma Talks on Zen Meditation and Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts.

To find out more about Tenshin Reb Anderson, please visit his website here.

angel Kyodo williams

angelKyodowilliamsOnce called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, angel Kyodo williams has been bridging the worlds of spirit and justice since her critically acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace, signaled a shift in the perception of American Buddhism as all white and upper middle class. She led the way for an explosion of interest in people of color practicing Buddhism and meditation. Ordained as a Zen priest, she returned to her activist background and began applying wisdom teaching to social issues to become a leading voice in the ever-emerging field of Transformative Social Change. For over 15 years, angel has deeply invested her time and energy to putting into practice her unwavering belief that the key to transforming society is transforming our very own inner lives. Both fierce and grounded, she is known for her unflinching willingness to both sit with and speak uncomfortable truths. Whether in writing, teaching or speaking, her inner voice is unique. angel notes, “Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”

Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Norman FischerZen priest, dharma teacher, and poet, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, visits Brooklyn Zen Center throughout the year to give talks and lead half-day and day-long sitting retreats with the BZC sangha, the Jewish Meditation Center and the Center for Mediation in Law.

Norman has spent almost 30 years at San Francisco Zen Center, having held many senior positions, including abbot and director. Norman is a dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman, from whom he received Dharma transmission in 1988. Norman founded and currently leads the Everyday Zen Foundation, a network of sanghas with chapters in Canada, the United States and Mexico. He offers teaching to many sanghas across the country. Among his numerous publications, Norman has written nine volumes of poetry as well as Opening to You: A Zen-inspired Translation of the Psalms and Taking our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up, which is based on his work mentoring young people.

To learn more about Zoketsu Norman Fischer, please visit the Everyday Zen Foundation.

Lama Rod Owens

Lama Rod Owens is the Guiding Teacher for the Radical Dharma Boston Collective and teaches with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) where he is also a faculty member for the organization’s teacher training program. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School with a focus on the intersection of social change, identity, and spiritual practice. He is a co-author of “Radical Dharma, Talking Race, Love, and Liberation,” which explores race in the context of American Buddhist communities. He has been published and featured in several publications including Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and Spirit Magazine. He has offered talks, retreats, and workshops for many organizations and universities including New York University, Yale University, Harvard University, Tufts University, University of Vermont, and Boston College. Lama Rod is also a visiting teacher/contributing teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Brooklyn Zen Center. Lama Rod facilitates undoing patriarchy workshops for male identified practitioners in Brooklyn and Boston and his current writing project is an exploration of intersectional masculinity and spirituality. Lama Rod was officially recognized and authorized as a lama by the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Setsuan Gaelyn Godwin

GaelynSetsuan Gaelyn Godwin is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and a Dharma heir of Tenshin Reb Anderson. She currently serves as the abbot of the Houston Zen Center. She began studying Zen at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1985 and was ordained by Tenshin-roshi in 1991. She received Dharma transmission from her teacher in 2003 and in 2005 was formally recognized by the Soto-shu of Japan, qualifying her to receive the title Kaikyoshi. She lived and trained for twelve years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, serving in several capacities there. From 1991 to 1992 she trained with Harada Sekkei-Roshi at Hosshin-ji in Japan, and from 1995 to 1996 she practiced with Robert Aitken-Roshi in Hawaii. She is member of the American Zen Teachers Association and the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists.

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Ph.D.

zenjuformalrobeBorn to parents who migrated from rural Louisiana, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, after twenty-five years of Buddhist practice she was ordained a Soto Zen priest by Zenkei Blanche Hartman in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Her Shiho (dharma transmission) ceremony was completed by Shosan Victoria Austin. She is the guiding teacher at Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center, or Yudo-ji (Excellent Way) in east Oakland, California. Her teachings center on the nature of embodiment within a boundless life in relationship to race, sexuality, and gender as gateways to absolute freedom. She is a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and sits on the Elder’s Council of the San Francisco Zen Center. She is the author of The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender with a foreword by Buddhist scholar and novelist Charles Johnson (Wisdom Publications), Tell Me Something About Buddhism (Hampton Roads Publishing) with a foreword by Thich Nhat Hanh, and compiler and editor of Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Trainings from the Heart by Zenkei Blanche Hartman (Shambhala Publications). She is contributing author to many books, including Together We are One (Parallax), Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and  Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom Publications). Learn more at her website: