Berkeley Zen Center Practice Leaders
Brief Introductory Information

Senior students at Berkeley Zen Center present public talks, lead classes and ceremonies, and offer practice discussion (formal and informal one-on-one meetings) with individual students. The following presents brief introductory information about these sangha members for those wishing to know more about the practice leadership in our community. Senior students may be contacted with information provided below, or in the membership directory, or as posted on the patio bulletin board.


Ekai Uji (Cherishing Ocean Being Time)
Laurie started formal Zen practice in 1980 at San Francisco Zen Center; she worked at Greens restaurant back in the day, and lived at Tassajara for three years. In 1989 she married Hozan Alan Senauke, moved to Berkeley Zen Center, and has been raising her family there ever since her daughter Silvie was born in 1990. Her son Alex was born in 1994. After several years of intense focus on childrearing, she gradually returned to more involvement in formal practice. She served as head student (shuso) at BZC in 2003 and received lay recognition in 2006. She is also studying and practicing hypnotherapy.
Unzan Kakudo (Cloud Mountain Realize the Way)
Peter first arrived at Berkeley Zen Center in 1969 and practiced here, at Tassajara, Green Gulch, and SFZC's City Center. While in San Francisco, he managed the Tassajara Bakery for six years, was ordained as a priest by Richard Baker Roshi in 1978, and served as shuso at Tassajara in 1983. In 1984 he returned to Berkeley with his wife Susan to raise their family. He has made BZC his practice home since that time. He is currently BZC’s coordinator, and leads a class in communication skills.
Shugetsu Koka (Autumn Moon Ancient Song)
Meghan has been practicing at Berkeley Zen Center or Clear Water Zendo since 1976. She received lay ordination from Sojun Mel Weitsman in the early eighties. In 2005 she was the first shuso at Clear Water Zendo and received lay recognition from Mary Mocine in 2009. She leads a dharma group at BZC and gives talks from time to time at various practice places.
Imo Denkei (Suchness Field of Blessings)
Raul was born and raised in Chile as a Chilean-American citizen and has had continuous and intensive practice at Berkeley Zen Center since 1978. Lay ordained in 1985 and shuso during the BZC 1992 practice period, he received priest ordination in 1999 and dharma transmission in 2010. In the past he has led a practice period in Chile, as well as programs on Zen and Judaism within the Bay Area Jewish community and the Jewish renewal movement. Raul leads a meditation group for clients in a public clinic context, as well as a dharma group for students undergoing mental health and psychoanalytic training. Raul is also a psychologist and a supervising psychoanalyst.
Nyu U Ho Sho (Gentle Rain Dharma Blossom)
Karen has practiced at the Berkeley Zen Center since 1976. In addition, from 1978 to 1993 she studied Tibetan Buddhism with Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche and Vipassana meditation with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. She received lay ordination at BZC 1996, was shuso in 2006, and received lay recognition from Sojun Roshi in 2010. During her nearly 35 years at BZC she has held many practice positions, including sesshin director, tenzo, and librarian. She currently co-leads a dharma study group. She has worked for many years at the San Francisco Public Library, where she is now Program Manager of the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center. She lives with her partner Nancy and nephew Daniel (and two cats) in Oakland.
So On So Do (Kind Plain Simple Ancestral Way)
Ron grew up in Berkeley and joined Berkeley Zen Center in the early 70s. He was a resident both at BZC's first home on Dwight Way and later at Russell street. Ron was head student (shuso) in the early 90s and received lay recognition in 2012. He lives with his wife in the Grand Lake district of Oakland, and is a manager at a massage and yoga center in San Francisco. He is currently BZC class coordinator.
Seisen Ikushin (Pure Spring Nourishing Heart)
Gerry began Zen practice in 1989 at Green Gulch Zen Center and has studied with Tenshin Reb Anderson. She transitioned to practice at Berkeley Zen Center in 1996 and was lay ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1997. She was shuso at BZC in 2008. She spent several 3 month practice periods at Tassajara Mountain Zen Center. She received priest ordination from Sojun Roshi in September of 2012. Gerry facilitates the BZC Wednesday night drop-in group and the 20’s 30’s Dharma group. Gerry is a pediatrician with a focus on public health and has been on the faculty of UCSF Medical School for over 20 years. She has two grown sons and delights in kayaking, birding, yoga and family life.
Seishi Tetsudo (Pure Determination Penetrate Way)
Ross has lived in Zen temples over half his life. He entered practice in 1984 under the abbacy of Bernie Glassman at The Zen Community of New York. In 1987 he became a student of Sojun Roshi at Berkeley Zen Center. Ross will listen to any monk whom he can learn from.
Yakuso Ryushin (Healing Source Dragon Heart)
Andrea began a daily Vipassana practice in 1994, came to Berkeley Zen Center in 1999, and was lay ordained by Maylie Scott in 2000. She received priest ordination from Sojun Roshi in 2005 and was shuso in 2009. She has held most major temple positions at BZC, and also studies with Shohaku Okumura. In her spare time, she is an internist and hospice and palliative medicine physician, and is her dog's best friend.
Meikyo Onza (Clear Mirror Calm Sitting)
Bob began Zen practice in 1971 with Joshu Sasaki. He came to Berkeley Zen Center in 1988 and received lay ordination from Sojun Roshi in 1994. He was shuso in 2007 and received lay recognition from Sojun in 2010. Bob has also received permission to teach Dayan (Wild Goose) qigong from Master Hui Liu in the lineage of Yang Meijun. Bob has recently retired from his work as a clinical neuropsychologist and psychotherapist; he has two grown daughters and loves trekking the Himalayas and Sierras.
Seishi Yusho (Clear Resolve Courageous Life)
Alexandra started formal practice in 1974 as a resident of an ashram for seven years, then joined the San Francisco Zen Center in 1987. She moved to Boulder, Colorado, practiced Tibetan Buddhism for 3 years, and returned to SFZC in 1993 as a resident. She received lay ordination in 1995, and in 1997 moved to Berkeley to practice at Berkeley Zen Center, whe shenow resides. She received priest ordination from Sojun Roshi in 2007, and was shuso in 2010. She has retired after working 30 years as a legal assistant.
Hei-Shin Tan-Do (Ordinary Mind Right Way)
Greg does his best to live/practice with all sentient beings, not least including those most proximate -- his wife Marie and their two young sons Sam and Eli. Greg has sat at Berkeley Zen Center for 18 years. He was lay ordained in 1995, served as Shuso in 2005, and received lay recognition from Sojun Roshi in 2010.
Shinko Seiwa (Deep Lake Clear Peaceful)
Leslie began Zen practice in the early 90s with a Thich Nhat Hanh sitting group, and also participated in monthly sittings at Green Gulch Zen Center. She began her practice at Berkeley Zen Center in 1999 and received lay ordination from Sojun Roshi in 2002. She has held a variety of positions at BZC, and was Shuso in 2011. She currently serves as tenzo. Leslie works as an inclusion specialist facilitating the education of students with severe disabilities in the public schools. In her free time she enjoys hiking Bay Area trails and exploring the wilderness areas of California. She lives with her husband Jake, and their two cats.
Marie Hopper
Kisen Hoshin (Radiant Spring Dharma Heart)
Marie Hopper began Zen practice at the Berkeley Zen Center in 1998.  She received lay ordination from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2002 and was shuso at the Berkeley Zen Center in 2012. Marie has served in various positions at the BZC. Currently she helps coordinate the monthly parent dharma group, and the exploration of family practice is a major interest for her .  Marie is married to Greg Denny and is the mother of two boys.  She also works as a marriage and family therapist.
Jake Van Akkeren
Hoshin Bokuren (Dharma Faith Unadorned/Straightforward Practice)
Jake began practicing at Berkeley Zen Center in 1998 and was lay ordained in 2001 by Sojun Roshi. He was shuso in 2013. Over the years he has held a variety of practice positions at BZC. He served as a Member-At-Large on the Board from 2008-09 and as Vice President from 2010-13. He is currently the BZC's Board President. Now retired, he taught for 34 years in the California public school system. Jake lives in Pleasant Hill with his wife, Leslie Bartholic, and their two cats. He enjoys his volunteer work with the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association and Burton Valley Elementary School. His interests include reading, hiking, backpacking, bicycling and senior softball.


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