Board of Directors

The duty of the BZC board of directors is to serve the sangha by ensuring that BZC fulfills the organization’s mission: to offer daily zazen and other intensive practice opportunities to lay and resident practitioners under the guidance of our abbot, Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi, and with the support of our zen center community. In addition it is the board’s responsibility to:

  • Take care of BZC’s finances,
  • Manage BZC’s residences,
  • Keep up BZC’s physical properties,
  • Materially provide for our Abbot, Vice-Abbot, Office Manager, and
  • Generally administer Berkeley Zen Center

Meditation, called zazen or sitting in stillness is the center of our practice as well as following and adapting the traditions of Soto Zen Buddhism and our founder Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At BZC, our everyday activity, as it extends from Zazen, is the field where practice finds its full expression.

 
Mary Duryee Mary Duryee

President

Mary is a retired psychologist and mediator.  She first walked through the gate at BZC in 1993; received lay ordination from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2004; and was shuso in 2017.  Her dharma name is Honkyo Josu:  Original home, Stillness.

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   Carol Paul

Vice President

Carol entered BZC’s gate in the Fall 2002. She was lay ordained by Darlene Cohen in 2001. Over the years, she has held a variety of practice positions at BZC including Head Chiden, Saturday Director, Sesshin Director and Head Server. She spent 2 practice periods at Tassajara in 2009 and again in 2011. Carol was previously on the Board in 2007-2008, served as Board Secretary in 2009 and again from 2015-2017. While in the workforce, Carol primarily worked in Human Resources in various positions in the Bay area. In September 2017, she received priest ordination by Sojun Mel Weitsman as Shiken Seigetsu – Intention Clear, Serene Moon. Her interests include hiking, swimming, yoga and spending time with her grandchildren.

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 Laurie Schley Senauke

Treasurer

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. In 1989 she married Hozan Alan Senauke, moved to Berkeley Zen Center, and raised their two children. After several years of intense focus on child-rearing, 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. In April 2018, she received priest ordination from Daito Steven Weintraub as Kosei Nyokai – Radiant Vow, Suchness Ocean. She is also studying and practicing hypnotherapy. lauriesenauke@sonic.net.

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Tom Painter

Member at Large

Tom has been a member of the Berkeley Zen Center (BZC) since 2010, and joined the board in 2018. He received lay ordination in 2013 from Sojun Roshi and was given the Dharma name, Sei Do Kai Shin (clear path, open heart). He serves on the Harmony, Ethics, and Reconciliation (HEAR) committee, and is the Saturday Program co-director.

He has worked as a clinical psychologist since 1997, and lives in Berkeley with his wife of 26 years and their son. In addition to providing individual and group psychotherapy, he serves as a union shop steward and clinical supervisor for a local mental health clinic.

When Tom is not at home, work, or at BZC, he may be found on his bicycle, walking purposelessly through Tilden Park, or going on the occasional backpacking or camping trip in the Sierra Nevada.

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Linda Hess

Member at Large

Linda began Zen practice in 1974 at San Francisco Zen Center and has practiced at Berkeley Zen Center since around the turn of the century. She has also practiced with Joko Beck and Diane Rizzetto and participated in vipassana retreats in India and the US. She met her husband Kaz Tanahashi in 1977 at San Francisco Zen Center, where they were married in 1980. Soon two kids, Karuna and Ko, emerged. Linda received lay ordination from Maurine Stuart in 1987 and from Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2014.

Linda is a translator and scholar of devotional/mystical poetry from North India—especially the popular poet Kabir, who lived in the 15th century. She has published three books related to Kabir poetry and music and is currently translating a big collection of Kabir poetry from a 400-year-old manuscript! She retired in 2017 after teaching in Stanford’s Department of Religious Studies for 21 years.

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Sue Oehser

Member at Large

I walked through the gate to BZC in 1990 and was lay ordained in 1995 by Sojun Roshi. My dharma name is ju myo sei shin, bright pearl, pure faith.

I’ve held number of positions at BZC including head chiden, co zendo manager, co Saturday director and oryoki cloths maker. I had a Montessori morning preschool in my home for 13 years, have been active as a volunteer in the anti-poverty grassroots lobby called RESULTS. My kids live in Oregon. My granddaughter Sabrina is 22 and graduating from the California College of Art.

My husband Gordon, who died in October, 2019 and I were married 33 years. He used to suggest we use snickers bars in the oryoki bowls (formal meal) in the zendo.

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Rondi Saslow

Member at Large

I came to BZC in 1988 after attending a workshop at Tassajara led by Sojun Roshi and Katherine Thanos. Since that time, I have served on a Board Committee, held Practice Positions, functioned as Board Secretary, been Benji to two Shusos, and, currently, serve on the Practice Committee as Member at Large. Professionally, I am a Marriage and Family Therapist and have a small Private Practice. I look forward to serving the Sangha. I live with my husband, Charley, also a BZC practitioner, and our cat, Bogey, who does Zazen all the time.

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Member at Large

Dean Bradley

Dean Bradley is a long time member of BZC; she has held many practice positions, hammered many shingles, pointed out many songbirds, and asked many questions. Her skills are myriad, too varied to be further enumerated here.

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Member at Large

  Gary Artim

Member at Large

“I started zazen and Zen practice at San Francisco Zen Center in 1992. When I moved to the East Bay I found BZC and was lay ordained in 1997 by Sojun Roshi. My wife Emily and I have lived in El Cerrito. Over time I have performed various practice positions. You may remember me as the Tenzo, Kitchen Keep, Jikido, or Sesshin Director. These position have helped me to embrace the practice and our sangha members. Seeing new students and watching them become part of the community is a great joy.

 

My career was as a systems and application programmer at various places. I ended my full time work at UC Berkeley working for a genetics researcher. I am now working as little as possible for a small lab and writing android apps as a hobby. I enjoy travel, swimming, movies, computers, and sesshins, etc.”
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