Guiding Teacher Tim Zentetsu Burkett
MZMC's Guiding Teacher, Tim Burkett, began practicing in spring 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi while attending Stanford University. At Suzuki's urging, Tim began a weekly sitting group on the San Francisco peninsula later that year, which Suzuki regularly attended. As this group grew in size, it was moved to the converted garage of a sangha member. Suzuki's talks to that group were later edited and published as "Zen Mind Beginner's Mind, which has become a classic text and the gateway for many to enter Zen practice. After completing his BA at Stanford, Tim attended the maiden practice period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1967. In 1970, Tim and his wife, Linda moved to Minnesota. He was an early member of MZMC and was ordained by Dainin Katagiri Roshi in 1978. Tim was president of MZMC from 1978 to 1983, recieved transmission from Karen Sunna in the Katagiri lineage in 2000, and succeeded Karen as guiding teacher in 2002. He is also a licensed Ph.D. psychologist and retired CEO of one of Minnesota's largest non-profit agencies. He and Linda have two grown children and two grandchildren. MZMC members can schedule dokusan (a one-to-one meeting) with him by contacting email@example.com
Make sure to check out Tim's new blog on Huffington Post! Just click on the link below.
Read Tim's blog.
Teachers (Dharma Heirs and Priests-in-Training)
Priests at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center make a lifelong commitment to teaching and exemplifying the Dharma. The responsibilities of priests are many and varied, and include much service to the community. They may teach classes, lead practice groups, lead meditation retreats, and give dharma talks. They may conduct rituals, conduct practice meetings, and offer pastoral care. They are expected to hold an office at MZMC, such as ino (practice leader), tenzo (cook), or work leader, and to have a consistent presence within the community. Some of them lead or help to facilitate practice groups in other locations as well. Priests maintain a regular and disciplined zazen practice, which includes both daily practice and retreats. Priests tend to be very busy people, and although they often find it challenging to balance family, work, and training activities, they know that this balancing is the very heart of their practice. They are committed to the Bodhisattva ideal, and feel profound gratitude for the opportunity to serve at MZMC and to be a part of this practice community.
Priest training at MZMC follows the model Guidelines for Training Soto Zen Priests in the West, which was developed by Tim Burkett and others under the auspices of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA). Priests-in-training are expected to become knowledgeable as to the history and teachings of Buddhism through study, classes, and, most importantly, working directly with their teacher. Training focuses on developing priestcraft, exemplary personal conduct, self-understanding, and academic study.
These individuals have received dharma transmission (certification to teach independently) from Tim Burkett. To schedule dokusan (a one-to-one meeting) with one of them, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ted O'Toole, Assistant Guiding Teacher
Ted O'Toole first became interested in Buddhism in 1973, and began his formal practice in 1992 at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following year he moved to Minnesota and became a member of MZMC, where he received the precepts from Shohaku Okamura. He was ordained as a priest by Tim Burkett in 2005, and received dharma transmission (permission to teach independently) from Tim in February of 2012. He has served MZMC in various roles, and is currently Assistant Guiding Teacher. He frequently leads practice periods and meditation retreats, and has taught various classes, including Basics of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, Creative Writing as Buddhist Practice, and Zen and the Art of Public Speaking. Ted grew up on a farm in North Dakota, and often incorporates his early experiences into his dharma talks. He has done construction, packing plant, and factory work, and currently works in the legal profession. He and his wife Kathy Guthrie live in St. Paul, and enjoy their extended family, as well as gardening, house projects, biking, cross-country skiing, and writing. It is a great joy, Ted says, to teach the dharma and build sangha, and to be supported in turn by a kind, vibrant, and exciting community. To schedule dokusan (a one-to-one meeting) with him contact email@example.com
Rosemary Taylor, Senior Teacher
Rosemary was ordained by Tim Burkett in 2003 and received dharma transmission in September 2010. Meanwhile, after studying Nyoho-e (the Way of Sewing) with Tomoe Katagiri for 16 years, Rosemary became one of three people authorized to teach by Tomoe-san upon her retirement in 2013. Rosemary now helps people sew their rakusu in preparation for Zen Initiation, and okesa for ordination and dharma transmission. She describes teaching sewing as "helping people see what zazen has to do with your everyday life." She lives in Minneapolis with her husband Dave; they have an adult daughter and son, along with one grandpuppy. To schedule dokusan (a one-to-one meeting) with her contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Nelson, Senior Teacher
Ekyo Susan Nelson is a senior teacher at Ganshoji (MN Zen Meditation Center), where she serves on the Leadership Group and in various other teaching and organizational positions within the community. She started practice in 1978 with Katagiri-roshi as a lay student and was ordained and later received dharma transmission from Guiding Teacher Tim Burkett.
She and her husband divide their time between Minneapolis and southeastern Minnesota where they have a residence and serve, along with a committed crew of practitioners, staff and volunteers, the Hokyoji Zen Practice Community.
Susan teaches mindfulness and meditation in community settings and also works as a healthcare chaplain on a part time basis. She and her husband enjoy their large family and circle of friendships immensely. She loves to sing and participates in a choir that performs in hospitals, care centers, and homes.She particularly enjoys mentoring people in their Zen practice and study and in facilitating experiences of practice and community for non-traditional and potential sangha members.
Guy Gibbon, Senior Teacher
Guy became interested in Buddhism in high school after reading books by Jack Kerouac and D. T. Suzuki. He became a member of MZMC in 1976 and has continued his connection with the center since then. He received the precepts from Dainin Katakiri Roshi in the late 1980s, and has received transmission as a Zen priest from Tim Burkett. Guy was a participant in Ken McLeod’s teacher training program at Unfettered Mind in Los Angeles between 2006 and 2011. After receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he taught at major universities for forty-two years, the last thirty-eight at the University of Minnesota, where he is professor emeritus. He is the author of many books and articles on his specialty in anthropology, and the author of the Buddhist primer series on the MZMC web site. Guy was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and lives with his wife Ann and temple cat Moo-san at MZMC.
Ben began Zen practice at MZMC in 2001, was ordained in 2009, and received dharma transmission in 2015. He is currently serving as a member of the Leadership Group and as Program Administrator. He started teaching Introduction to Meditation in 2005, and since then has taught regularly at MZMC and more recently, at Zen centers across the US. He teaches secular mindfulness in a variety of contexts such as police training, addiction recovery groups, and wellness groups. Ben is also a musician by profession: a singer and songwriter, guitar teacher, film composer and multi-instrumentalist. His first book, Inside the Grass Hut, Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem (Wisdom Publications) was published in 2014, and his second Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara: A Practitioner's Guide, was published by Wisdom in 2016.
Busshō Lahn first came to Zen Buddhism and MZMC in 1993, was ordained by Tim Burkett in 2009, and received dharma transmission in 2015. Busshō is a certified spiritual director, connecting with and mentoring those who wish to deepen an intentional and contemplative spiritual life. He explores the connection between spirituality and psychology with them as well as encouraging and supporting their continued contemplative practice.
He is active in both the recovery and Christian contemplative communities, teaching and leading retreats and overseas pilgrimages through the Episcopal House of Prayer and the Aslan Institute. His special interests include Zen ritual and ceremony, poetry, interfaith dialogue, and the works of the great mystics. He lives in Eden Prairie with his wonderful wife Karen.
Click here to read and interview on mindfulness and spirituality with Senior Priest Bussho Lahn.
Wanda's interest in Eastern thought and practices began in the early 1980's. She started a regular meditation practice at MZMC in 2005 and was ordained in 2009. She received Dharma Transmission in 2015. Wanda was drawn to the quiet, inward-looking nature of Zen. Her focus as a Zen teacher is helping people cultivate the capacity to express themselves completely by seeing through emotional barriers and opening up to the natural compassion and original freedom innate in each of us.
Wanda is the editor of Nothing Holy About It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are, by Tim Burkett. She is co-author of the book, Creating Awesome: Radiant Health as a Spiritual Practice, which focuses on mind/body healing. She is currently editing Tim’s second book Heart’s Undivided: Healing Ourselves, Healing Our World. It will be published in 2018 by Shambhala Publications.
Contemplation and mysticism attracted Ann as a child, when her mother told stories of the French idealist philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin. She began to meditate on her own in graduate school, where she majored in educational psychology. She taught deaf children for two decades, and became a writer. Covering major league baseball led her to the literary form in which she continues to write, the personal essay. She had developed an on-off meditation practice, always starting but always stopping for lack of "results."
Ann first came to MZMC in 2005 and returned in 2012, seeking community and support. Today she sees more than a little Zen in Teilhard de Chardin: "We are one, after all, you and I," he wrote, "together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other." In October 2016, Tim Burkett ordained Ann. She currently serves MZMC as tenzo, in gratitude for the steadfast encouragement and guidance she receives.
Stacy Lee King
Stacy Lee King began Minnesota Zen Meditation Center teacher training in November 2012 with formal ordination from Tim Burkett. Stacy has led kitchen practice and work practice and assisted with the Dharma Family Sunday program. She facilitates introductory meditation sessions at MZMC as well as Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center. "I'm compelled by love and gratitude to those who, with gentle calm, seated me in meditation and wholehearted activity. To always remember the candle was lit before I came, and what an honor that this lightness may pass through me."
Mark began exploring Zen Buddhist practice while a college student at the University of Minnesota. He came to MZMC in 2011 and received the precepts in 2013. Mark was ordained by Ted O'Toole in 2015. Mark is drawn towards the practicality of everyday Zen. Mark is particularly interested in exploring engaged mindfulness, non-violent communication, and the interplay between the 12-steps and Zen practice. He draws great inspiration from people who give their entire hearts to the most simple of activities, be it sitting zazen, eating oryoki, or ringing a meditation bell. Mark began his career in the nonprofit sector in 2002 with the American Red Cross. Since then, he has worked in a variety of capacities including emergency response, environmental education, and grassroots advocacy. Mark currently works as a fundraising officer for a national health organization. In his free time, Mark enjoys creating music, writing creative fiction, and exploring the outdoors.
Bill's interest in Zen Buddhism began when he was a teenager, drawn by the promise of experience deeper than the mundane, and the idea that one could influence his or her own mind. He started reading books on Buddhism, including Zen Mind Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and visited a variety of practice communities in the Minneapolis and Madison, WI areas. Bill found his way to MZMC in 2011 and began a daily meditation practice shortly thereafter. In 2013 he took the lay precepts, and in 2016 he was ordained as a priest-in-training by Tim Burkett. Bill has become a wholehearted meditation enthusiast, and in particular appreciates intensive meditation retreats, or sesshin. Other interests of Bill's include Japanese language and culture, contemplative Christianity, and workplace mindfulness. Bill works as a management consultant in the healthcare and life science sectors.