We are thrilled to introduce BZC’s first two Sangha Harmony Allies: Renhō Gerardo Dexter Ciprian and Inzan Monica Rose Smith.
The Sangha Harmony Allies (SHAs) are a new role recommended by the Ethics Working Group as part of the formal Ethics Process, which was approved by the Board of Directors last year. Inzan and Renhō were chosen in consultation between the Practice Council and Sangha Council.
The Sangha Harmony Allies are long-term students tasked with meeting and holding ethical concerns in the Sangha. They will strive for impartiality, fairness, and true communication. Their role is not necessarily to resolve conflicts, but to listen and guide someone through their process, empower that person with agency, and to moderate peer conversations. You can read more about the role here.
We cannot think of two practitioners better suited to this role than Inzan and Renhō, both of whom bring a depth of practice, commitment to our sangha, and compassionate hearts to this work. Please join us in welcoming them.
About 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 Renhō Gerardo Dexter Ciprian
Renhō Gerardo Dexter Ciprian (he/him) is a Dominican-American visual artist, educator, and disability justice advocate living and working in the unceded land of the Wappinger, Schaghticoke and Wapinger people, also known as The Bronx, NY. Renhō came across the Brooklyn Zen Center in 2014 by chance and, since then, has been practicing under the guidance of his teacher, Laura O’Loughlin. Renhō received the precepts from Kosen Gregory Snyder in October of 2019. He’s held various roles in the sangha, including Shika (temple greeter) and co-facilitator of the POC Sangha. Renhō is currently teaching a course on disability justice and architecture at The City College of NY, and is an artist in residence at The Bronx Museum of the Arts.