Born in Los Angeles in 1929, Sojun’s broad life experience includes years of art study and abstract expressionist painting, work as a house painter, boat painter, cab driver, and music instructor. Mel lives in North Berkeley with his wife Liz; they have a son named Daniel.
In 1964, Sojun Roshi began to practice at San Francisco Zen Center on Bush Street, and in 1969 he was ordained by Suzuki Roshi as resident priest at the Berkeley Zendo. He received Dharma Transmission from Suzuki Roshi’s son and successor, Gyugaku Hoitsu, at Rinsoin temple in Japan in 1984, and was officially installed as Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center in 1985.
Along with his responsibilities in Berkeley, Sojun Roshi helps train students and teachers at several affiliated temples. From 1988 to 1997 he served as Co-Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. Sojun Roshi has given Dharma Transmission to numerous students, each of whom draws on their experience and understanding in offering Sojun and Suzuki Roshi’s teaching to others.
Vice-Abbot Hozan Alan Senauke
Hozan began practicing at BZC on Dwight Way and later established his practice as a student of Sojun Roshi in the early1980s. He was ordained at BZC in 1989 and received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Roshi at Tassajara in 1998. He has been Tanto or Head of Practice at BZC since 1997, and was installed as BZC’s Vice Abbot in 2007.
Hozan brings a global perspective on socially-engaged Buddhism and Zenas a force for positive change. Since 1991 Alan has been a leader at Buddhist Peace Fellowship. More recently he has founded the Clear View Project, bringing Buddhist-based resources and support where it is needed around the world.
Hozan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. He brings to our sangha a rich life experience as a writer and editor, a social justice activist, and a respected folk musician. Alan has been a resident at Berkeley Zen Center for 25 years. He and his wife Laurie have raised their two children, Silvie and Alex, at BZC.