Online Class: Hidden Wisdom—The Teachings of Buddhist Women Ancestors, starting March 26

Event Details

This event is running from 26 March 2023 until 21 May 2023. It is next occurring on April 2, 2023 10:30 am

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Image: Mahapajapati, first Buddhist nun and Buddha’s stepmother ordains

Eight-week class led by Inzan Rose and Yoko Ohashi

Class dates: Sundays 3/26, 4/2, 4/16/, 4/23, 4/30, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21 (please note that the class will not meet on Easter Sunday, April 9)

Class time: 10:30am to 12 noon. Students are encouraged to sit zazen before the class starts, if possible.

This class will be offered online via live stream. Participants will receive log in details after registering.

This eight-week class will incorporate periods of meditation, chanting, artistic and embodied expression, and breakout groups as we explore the inspirational history and teachings of our women ancestors from India, China, and Japan.

We will study their life stories and the challenges they faced as women practitioners in male-dominated, religious and cultural contexts, as well as the teachings and insights these teachers offer. From Mahapajapati refusing to be excluded from the original sangha when the Buddha said that women could not join, to Miaozong’s explicit use of sexuality to teach a head student a thing or two about women’s wisdom, to Ryonen burning her face because she was told that she was too beautiful to enter a monastery, these stories and teachings will be a way to explore the personal challenges and opportunities we face today.

This class is open to all genders. We will investigate the social norms in the various eras and cultures highlighted and discuss such topics as gender identity, sexuality, beauty, repression, oppression, renunciation, liberation, motherhood, patriarchy, race and class.

We will draw from the following: Readings and Resources

Equitable Pricing Model (read more here):

If you’re unable to pay at the lowest rate, please use this form to apply for an exemption at least a week before the registration deadline.

Please note that registration for this class closes by the date of the second class meeting (4/2).

Refund policy: you may request a full refund before the start of the first class by emailing Please note that there are no refunds for events with registration fees under $50. Please see our complete cancellation policy here.

Inzan Monica Rose Smith

Inzan Monica Rose Smith started practicing Zen meditation in the Taisen Deshimaru lineage when she lived in Ireland. Upon moving back to the States and making her home in Brooklyn, Inzan discovered the Brooklyn Zen Center and has been practicing here since 2006. Over the years, she has held the roles of Tenzo (head of kitchen) and Shika (temple greeter). In 2011, Inzan took the precepts with Soshin Teah Strozer, and in 2015, she completed a three-month practice period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery. Inzan received tokudo (priest) ordination from Kosen Greg Snyder in 2018. In the spring of 2020, Inzan graduated from a dual-degree program at Union Theological Seminary and Hunter, CUNY, with Master’s Degrees in Divinity (in Buddhist Studies and Interreligious Engagement) and Social Work. That fall, Inzan moved to Ancestral Heart Temple, where she lived for a year and a half and held the role of Ino (head of zendo). Inzan also holds an MFA in creative writing, which she continues to do in her spare time. She also enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, aikido, and is determined to learn how to garden. Inzan lives nearby Ancestral Heart Temple  and is building a clinical practice as a psychotherapist.

About Yoko Ohashi

Yoko Ohashi has been a student of Zen since she walked in the Brooklyn Zen Center in 2006. She continues to be mystified – being offered dharma this way in Brooklyn, all the way across the ocean from her motherland, Japan. Yoko is grateful for her teachers, sangha family, her husband and her son, who continually clarify the path for her. She was lay-ordained by Teah Strozer in 2015, served as a Shuso for  the fall of 2016 practice period, and has practiced various roles at the center. Yoko holds a Masters of Fine Arts in New Forms from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.