Sojun Mel WeitsmanAbbot Sojun Mel Weitsman

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.