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Wednesday, March 2, 9 & 16, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm PST (Online)
Saturday, March 26, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm PST (On Site)


An online course for new practitioners to go deeper into the teachings of Zen. In four weeks, you will learn the basics of meditation, Buddhist thought, and the history of our lineage. The fourth week’s offering is a socially-distanced guided tour of the grounds of the Zen Center. This course is designed for newcomers and anyone looking to build the foundation for a spiritual practice. Experience the person-to-person transmission of Buddhist teachings and cultivate the stillness of Zen inside your own home.

Week 1: Posture and Forms

The posture of Zazen, seated meditation, is the cornerstone to Zen practice. This is the radical act of just sitting. In sitting, we experience the embodied reality of the dropping off of the mind and returning to things as they are. Learn the principles of breath and seated positions as a foundation for spiritual practice.


This workshop will be taught by Vice Abbot Nyoze Kwong.


Week 2: Buddhist Thought

You will be introduced to Buddhist thought, beginning with Eihei Dogen, the monk who founded the Soto Zen lineage in 1247, Japan. Dogen taught Zen Buddhism as a practical mysticism for everyday life. We will talk about the principles of no self in Mahayana philosophy. You will learn the origins of Buddha’s noble truths: life is suffering, all things are impermanent, and liberation is possible for all beings.


This workshop will be taught by Kaian John Jennings and Genzen Ed Cadman.

Week 3: SMZC Lineage and History

Learn about our lineage, the silent illumination lineage. The teachings of Buddha are transmitted from the mind to mind of teacher to student. SMZC practices as the 92nd generation of its lineage which stretches all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha. Discover key teachers in the lineage of Zen as it moves over the centuries from India to China to Japan, and to San Francisco in the 1960s. You will learn about the founder of SMZC, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, our abbot and leader of practice for nearly 50 years.


This workshop will be taught by Nyoze Kwong and Tensan Chuck Ramey.


Week 4: SMZC Tour/Visit

Come visit the grounds at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. Using the guidelines for social distancing, our group will walk through the sacred land of the mountain. Our temple sits in 85 acres of redwoods and oaks overlooking the Valley of the Moon. We will walk in the woods to the memorial grounds and stupas for teachers Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Enjoy guided tours of the hundred-year-old barn which has been our original meditation hall and see our new temple currently in construction.


This workshop will be taught by Nyoze Kwong and Kashin Kwong.

Event Passed


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Nyoze Kwong
Abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in Santa Rosa, California

Nyoze Kwong received a degree in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz. He worked as a fundraiser in Stanford University’s Engineering Department. Nyoze has a background in Socially Engaged Buddhism and has trained with well-respected teachers in Japan and United States and has over 30 years of meditation experience. In 2012 he finished his formal Zen training at Eiheiji, oldest monastery and head temple of the Soto Zen School in Japan. In 2015 he was certified and recognized by Sotoshu as a Zen teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi. Nyoze has served as Abbot and Executive Director of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (SMZC) since 2023. He lives at SMZC with his wife Kashin and his son Ejo.

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Katsuzen King
Founding Teacher of Windsor Zen Sitting Group in Windsor, California

Katsuzen began studying Zen in Oregon in 1976 and has been practicing at SMZC since 1979. He is the long-time Editor-in-Chief for Mountain Wind, the Zen Center's quarterly newsletter. In 2019 he received Dharma Transmission from Kwong-roshi and currently leads the Windsor Zen Group in his hometown, Windsor, California. Katsuzen first began studying with Kwong-roshi while he was preparing to become a bilingual elementary school teacher. Now retired, he works part time as a Spanish teacher. Additionally, Katsuzen has trained many years in martial arts and holds a 2nd-degree black belt in two schools of Aikido. He teaches Aikido and self-defense in Healdsburg, California and travels several times a year to offer classes and workshops in Mexico.

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Tensan Chuck Ramey
Leading Teacher of South Sound Zen in Tacoma, Washington

Tensan (天山) Chuck Ramey has been a student of Kwong roshi for more than 20 years. He took Jukai (Sky Mountain) in 2002 and was ordained as a lay priest in 2014. He lives with Karen, his wife of 54 years, in Tacoma, Washington where he leads the South Sound Zen affiliate sitting group. He first met Nyoze Kwong in New Mexico at Upaya Zen Center in 1999. Through Nyoze he met roshi. Tensan has served as President of the SMZC Board of Trustees since 2017. He and Karen are blessed to have two wonderful children, three grandchildren, a great grandson, and soon to be, great granddaughter.

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Kashin Julie Kwong
Senior Student of Kwong-roshi & Ordained Nun

Kashin Julie Kwong has been a student of Jakusho Kwong-roshi since 2001. She was born in Korea and adopted at the age of 7 to Denmark, where she grew up. She worked in the fashion industry in New York and London. She served as Shuso (head student) for the Winter Ango in 2007. Kashin has been a tea student of Mouri-sensei in the Omotesenke tradition for more than 15 years. Kashin trained for five months under Shundo Aoyama-roshi at Aichi Senmon Nisodo Training Nunnery in Nagoya, Japan in 2018 and was formally recognized by Soto School of Zen in Japan the following year. Kashin has served as Geido (arts & aesthetics) for Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. She lives at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center with her husband Nyoze, her son Ejo, and their cat Myoji.

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Kaian John Jennings
Senior Student of Kwong-roshi & Ordained Priest

In the spring of 2002, Kaian came to Sonoma Mountain and become a student of Kwong-roshi. In 2007 he received the precepts from Kwong-roshi. In 2008 he served as Shuso (head student) for the Winter Ango. In 2012 he was ordained as a priest. He lives on Cobb Mountain in Lake County, California with his wife, Lia, his 3 grown children, and 9 grandchildren—not in the same house but within a few miles of each other. He has co-facilitated meditation at Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, CA. He is an artist and musician and active in both capacities in his community.

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Koten David Price
Senior Student of Kwong-roshi & Ordained Priest

Koten David Price began formally practicing Zen at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center where he has lived as a student since 2006. During his residency he has served on the SMZC advisory board as Resident Representative, held the position of Tenzo (Head Cook) and Shissui (Work Leader). Koten received Jukai from Jakusho Kwong-roshi in 2007 and was ordained as a Buddhist Priest in 2012. He has also served as Shuso (Head Student) leading the 30-day intensive practice period in the winter of 2013, giving talks, providing interviews and guiding students through the daily schedule. Before coming to Genjo-ji, he spent 20 years as a professional cook and chef working in resorts and restaurants from Hawaii to Philadelphia. Koten is a sportsman and enjoys hiking all throughout the Sonoma County and the North Bay.

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Genzen Ed Cadman
Senior Student of Kwong-roshi & Ordained Priest

In 2006, Genzen became a member of SMZC and a student of Kwong-roshi. Usually every year thereafter, Genzen, a resident of Seattle, would travel to SMZC to attend the Winter Ango in February and the Rohatsu Sesshin in December. In February 2019, he served as Shuso (head student) for the Winter Ango. In February 2020, he was ordained along with Kanzenchi Peter Pocock, Jibun Jesse Brunette, and Totai Michał Czernuszczykj.

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Kevin Shindo Souza
Senior Student of Kwong-roshi & Ordained Priest

Shindo started practicing in Phoenix AZ in 2007 right around the time his son was born. He was at a point in his life where he had to make significant changes in order to be the father his son deserved. In 2008 he moved to Carson City to be closer to his son where he led a sitting group on Thursday nights. He would travel back and forth from Carson to SMZC to practice on weekends whenever he got a chance. He received Jukai from Kwong-roshi in 2009 and was given the dharma name Shindo which means “Mind/Ground.” He served as Shuso (head student) for the Summer Ango in 2021 and was ordained in 2023. He currently lives in Berkeley, CA with his wife and 17-year-old son and works full time. He loves spending his free time outdoors in the mountains backpacking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

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