Tim Ryuko Langdell

Tim Ryuko Langdell Sensei is a board-certified hospice chaplain and is both the head priest and guiding teacher at StillCenter Zen in Pasadena, California. His dharma name, Ryuko, means “Dragon Tiger.” He holds an MDiv from Claremont School of Theology and a Ph.D. in Psychology from University College London. He is an author of several books, including “Beginner’s Mind: An Introduction to Zen Buddhism,” and “Christ Way, Buddha Way: Jesus as Wisdom Teacher and a Zen Perspective on His Teachings.” As well as being a transmitted priest in Clear Mind Zen, he is also a fully transmitted teacher in both the Korean (Seung-Sahn) and the Vietnamese (Thich Thien An) Zen traditions. He was awarded “Inka” and the title of ‘Soensanim’ in the Korean tradition.

Ryuko began his Zen training in 1973 when he attended the Zen Center of Los Angeles and Tassajara Zen Center. He practiced with Bernie Glassman Roshi and with Egyoku Nakao Roshi at ZCLA, as well as with Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center where he graduated from Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Training program. In addition to completing the Korean Zen koan curriculum, Ryuko is also working to complete the White Plum koan curriculum in the Open Mind School of Zen under Roshi Al Fusho Rapaport. Ryuko Sensei is accepting Zen students for Priest progression, koan students and lay students. He holds weekly meetings on Saturday mornings, providing sangha support both for his students and for a wider community of people interested in Zen practice.


Kathleen Ryugin Sorensen Sensei

Kathleen Ryugin Sorensen sensei spent her earlier life working as a Museum staff member at the California Academy of Science (3 yrs), San Francisco, and the The University of California, Berkeley (20 yrs).  She served as a summer museum intern at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC in 1963.  She was also a volunteer assistant at the Philadelphia Academy of Science during her brief time in that city, as well as the membership Secretary for The American Entomological Society hosted there.  

Later in her life she spent 20+ years as a Playground Monitor supervisor for the Buckeye School District in El Dorado county, California, and 10 years as Advancement Chairman with Boy Scout Troop 645, where she oversaw and encouraged the development of 27 Eagle Scouts, for which that troop made her an Honorary Eagle Scout for her service.  

She began studying Zen in Clear Mind Zen under Daiho roshi when her husband John Shoji Sorensen roshi joined the order in 2009. She took Sanbo that year, Jukai later, and became an Unsui priest under Daiho roshi in 2012. She was transmitted by Daiho in late 2016. 

Her work has focused on providing Zen dharma services at Folsom Prison’s Women’s Facility, and both Folsom and Sacramento State prisons.  She has also aided Shoji roshi in providing meditative services to blackbelts at a FSKA karate dojo in Roseville California, where she holds a pre-Shodan Brown belt herself.  She’s been Jisha at Hanashobu-an and Gyōa-ji to Shoji roshi; and Tenzo during Golden Foothills Sangha sesshins there, as well as assistant Tenzo during sesshins at CMZ HQ in Las Cruces, NM .  

Jaime Taikan González Peña

Jaime Taikan González Peña is Clear Mind Zen priest who is also an mexican actor/director and business owner currently living in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.  He attended Naropa university.  After joining the Golden Footshills Sangha, he studied under Shoji roshi receiving Sanbo and Jukai, took Unsui vows in 2016 and was transmitted in 2022. As well as at Guōa-ji, he has also attended retreats at the Suzuki lineage Tassajara, a Suzuki lineage monastery. 

As a priest, he describes his practice as listening to people and trying to give them insight to whatever they’re coping with so they can see things differently themselves.  He holds meditation groups and short local retreats for people to experience the benefits of meditation firsthand in a city where such options do not exist. 

Also, he also describes his practice as reminding himself to do what he enjoys and enjoy what he is doing (and adds “not always successfully, it’s a practice!  May all beings be free from suffering.”)

Lori Oshin Coates

Lori Oshin Coates is a 1997 graduate of the Ohio State university holding a BA in literature. For the past 20 years she has worked as a professional pet groomer and owns her own grooming business in Columbus Ohio.

While pursuing lifelong love of reading and knowledge she has read French and German existentialists, especially Herman Hesse, whose works, especially Siddhartha, led her to want to learn more about Zen Buddhism. In 2014 she became John Shoji Sorensen’s student and took jukai that same year, took unsui in 2017 and was dharma transmitted in 2022. Lori offers local online meditation sessions in Columbus OH.

Maria Shinzai

Maria Shinzai, was a Zen student for over a decade before being transmitted by Shoji Roshi in 2022. She is the temple priest in training at Smiling Buddha Zen Center and is also unlucky enough to be married to Kijo Sensei, whom she keeps in line with a chancla whenever he takes himself too seriously, which is often. Shinzai has written for Out Front Magazine in Colorado and is particularly interested in bringing Zen practice into the community through Zen at work programs, as well as through offering weddings, Buddhist naming and other such ceremonies. Shinzai is also actively engaged in offering Zen practice to the Hispanic and undocumented community in the US.

David Isurushin Shapiro

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended Penn State University and the University of Oregon with a minor in Asian Religions and MS in Rehabilitation Therapy. Currently working with Psych patients in Reno Nevada and considers himself semi-retired. Degree of Zen Priest awarded December 11, 2017 by Rev Dr. So Shoji Sorensen, Order of Clear Mind Zen, Golden Foothills Sangha, El Dorado Hills California.

The name of Isurushin given by his teacher because of working in the Rehabilitation field for over 30 years and the name refers to Healer of Body, Mind and Heart and the insight that all three must work together and are not entirely separate.
While some start their work after ordination, he was incorporating Buddhist teachings into his treatments decades ago with a focus on compassion, constructive interventions and the desire to help others.

His other major contribution to Zen Practice is in being an admin in two Face Book rooms for over a decade, reaching thousands who may benefit from informal rather than formal training and sharing. With the realization that not all Zen Priests are destined to formally teach and have students, he has instead focused on helping his patients and others to incorporate Eastern teachings into Western thought via social media and providing references and interpretations to specific Sutras, teachings and Buddhist “Philosophy” which can be understood and internalized without the Pali and Sanskrit words.

Additionally, he has been working with Disabled Veterans with stress management issues and with teens on units with behavioral and emotional issues. His private business focuses on low income residents needing assistance with returning to community living and coping skills. His Mantra is “How can I Help” and that seems to be working out quite well for him.

Carl Wade Gakudo Thompson

Dr. Carl Wade Gakudo Thompson, is a transmitted Zen Buddhist Priest. His dharma name is Gakudo, which means “Practice of the Way”, and is also the name of a treatise by Dogen, founder of the Soto Zen sect. As a professor and academic as well as a priest, he offers his services on campus by being available to provide spiritual counseling to students and staff of all faiths on my campus at Howard College in Big Spring, TX, as well as his previous institution of Texas Wesleyan University. He has also taught meditation seminars to students so as to help relieve stress and have led meditation activities for students during finals week. He has also previously served as the Buddhist Chaplain at Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, TX in a volunteer capacity for a period of time. His hope is to further his outreach at Howard University and start a meditation group on its campus

Berry Gambo Crawford

Berry Crawford first started practicing Zen meditation in 1992. He lived at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center and practiced as a resident in the mid 1990s. There he completed the initiation ordeal known as tangaryo and completed traditional Soto Zen Practice Periods. Berry next practiced with Diane “Eshin” Rizzetto in the Ordinary Mind Zen School started by Joko Beck. Later, Berry became a student of John “Shoji” Sorenson and in 2022 was authorized to independently teach Zen. He currently engages in traditional White Plum koan study with his koan teacher Russell “Kyofu Seikyo” Mitchell and was authorized as an Assistant Koan Teacher by him in 2023. Berry is a member of the “Doan-ryo” at the Valley Streams Zen Sangha and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Dharma Center.

John Kijo

John Kijo Sensei began Buddhist study and practice in the early 80’s in Europe, including with groups such as the Triratna Buddhist Community, The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives/Throssel Hole Zen Buddhist Abbey in the UK, and with exposure to the Theravadin Thai Forest tradition, through Amaravati Buddhist monastery in Hertfordshire, UK. He began formal Zen training, around 1981, with the London Buddhist Society Zen group, under the direction of Ven. Myokyo-ni, in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Soko Morinaga Roshi. Kijo first ordained as a Zen priest in the White Plum Soto Zen tradition in 1991.Since the early 1990’s, Kijo has taught meditation one to one, with interfaith and general meditation groups, in Zen sitting groups and with those dealing with substance abuse and self image issues. He is a member of Zen Peacemakers International and has guest lectured at the American University in London and at Heythrop College, the theological college of London University.

Kijo was ordained an Unsui in the Order of Clear Mind Zen by Shoji Roshi in 2017 and was Transmitted as a Zen teacher and a full priest, by Shoji Roshi in early 2021. He now teaches in Colorado at Smiling Buddha Zen Center, with the help of Maria Shinzai. Kijo’s particular interests are in social, environmental and community oriented practice, informed by the core teachings and practice of Buddhism, engaged Buddhism, and the use of traditional forms of Zen practice, especially for those with children, people of color, those who are undocumented, and those on low incomes, who are under represented in Buddhist communities. Presently Kijo is looking to engage in formal Rinzai Koan training, in order to offer such practice in a relevant context to modern daily life in the West.


Seth Kongo Dennis

Seth Dennis is your friendly neighborhood Zen priest in the wild city “where the West begins” of Fort Worth, Texas.
Seth received transmission from Dr. John (Shoji) Sorenson Roshi in the Matsuoka Soto lineage and currently studies koans under Zen teacher Russel Mitchell in the Open Mind sangha.

Seth works as a chaplain in the only maximum level trauma hospital in the golden triangle of nearby cities and towns. He has served in his role as priest to the DFW community for seven years

Seth also makes himself available to the online world as he teaches and offers spiritual care through social media, Skype, Zoom etc… He is available to anyone who is in need and encourages you to reach out to him if you are struggling through grief or in need of spirtual/emotional care. He does not charge for his services, but will accept dāna if offered. Seth can be contacted through Clear Mind Zen Sangha.