Mark Kanchi Esterman Roshi began Zen training under Japanese Rinzai Zen Master Seikan Hasegawa in 1969 and continued training with him in locations on the East coast of the U.S. as well as in Japan until 2002. He was ordained by Rev. Hasegawa in 1997 and served under him as Head Monk of Rock Creek Buddhist Temple 1970-2002, and Vice-Abbott 1999-2002.
He began studying with Zen Master Genpo Merzel at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City in 2003. He received Jukai (Receiving the Precepts) and Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) from Genpo Roshi in 2004, Hoshi (Lineage Holder) in 2010, Shiho (Transmission as a successor and teacher of Zen) October 17, 2014, and Inka (final seal of approval as Zen Master) June 3, 2022.
Mark was born and raised in the New York City area. He and his late wife Margaret, who was a Rinpoche in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, married in 1977 and have three children and four grandchildren. They were also partners in an independent book publishing company which has published books in a variety of fields including education, music, art, children’s books and gardening as well as Buddhism. He is a graduate of Amherst College and received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. He has taught classes on Zen, Big Mind and meditation locally at Kanzeon Zen Center, the University of Utah Lifelong Learning Program and elsewhere. He founded the Salt Lake Zen Group in 2012.
Mary Ellen Jisho Sloan Roshi, began studying with Genpo Merzel Roshi at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City in 2001. She received Jukai (Buddhist Precepts) in 2004, Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) in 2005, and Shiho (Dharma Transmission) in 2017.
Mary Ellen was born in Montana, moved to Salt Lake City in 1960, graduated from the University of Utah in 1972, the College of Law in 1975, and was admitted to the Bar in 1975. She began her career at South Dakota Legal Services on the Lakota Rosebud Sioux Reservation, and later in Salt Lake City, practicing federal Indian Law representing Tribes and individual Native Americans.
In 1980 she became the mother of one daughter, while working full time and then as a single parent. She was also President of Women Lawyers of Utah in the early 90s, and represented the organization on the Utah State Bar Commission. In 1988 she became a Salt Lake County Assistant District Attorney, and Civil Division Assistant Director (first woman to hold that position), retiring in 2010. Since 2011 she has been Roshi’s assistant, and after receiving Shiho has held one-day Zen and Big Mind retreats and weekly sitting meditation sessions.
Christian Jikishin von Wolkahof Sensei has been a student of Genpo Roshi since 1989. He received Shukke Tokudo ordination in 2007 and Dharma Transmission (Shiho) as a successor in 2018.
As co-founder of Kanzeon Sangha Germany in 1996 and the Kanzeon Zen Center Düsseldorf in 2001, he managed the center until the end of 2007 together with his then-wife Marci Forand. From 2008 until 2012 the family lived with their children Carl and Toni at the Kanzeon Zen Center International in Salt Lake City.
Chris is particularly interested in translating the ancient principles of Zen into modern language, western lifestyle and northern climate. He feels that his most valuable asset as a teacher is the Big Mind Process. He lives in Düsseldorf, Germany, where he works in the state government and teaches Zen at Kanzeon Sangha Germany.
Alexandra Mushin Gericke Sensei was born and grew up in Southern Germany. She skied for the German national youth team, earning her a scholarship for the University of Utah. While coming to Salt Lake City to study Psychology in 1994, she also had her first encounter with Zen practice at the Kanzeon Zen Center.
Wanting to study with her teacher, Soten Genpo Roshi, she became a resident Kanzeon in 1996. Living there for eight years, she trained in both the more traditional forms of Zen as well as in Roshi's Big Mind process. She received Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) in 1998 and served as Roshi's attendant for many years, becoming Hoshi (Lineage Holder) in 2002 and receiving Denkai in 2006.
Since 2008, she has been married to Belgian Zen teacher Frank De Waele Roshi. They live in Ghent with their two daughters. She also trained in body awareness practices like Feldenkrais and Focusing and is working as a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher.
In August of 2022, Mushin received Shiho (Dharma Transmission) form Genpo Roshi in Germany and has since started the No Mind Zendo.
Charlotte Jigen Juul Hoshi is a Zen priest and psychotherapist with an MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology from Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado, and a BA in Psychosynthesis from The Psychosynthesis and Education Trust in London. She is a certified Somatic Experience-Practitioner (SEP), in Trauma Psychology, (SE-practitioner, Peter Levine), and is certified as a Big Mind Facilitator by Zen Master Genpo Merzel.
She began her spiritual path in the mid 90’s exploring various teachings of enlightenment. In 2000 she gave up her professional and personal life and joined a spiritual community to focus full-time on awakening together with others. In 2008, after leaving the community, she attended a workshop with Genpo Roshi and recognized that Zen Buddhism was her path. Ever since Zen has been the primary path and practice in her life.
Her pastoral counseling embraces the spiritual and the psychological, utilizing psychotherapy and Big Mind facilitation, as well as meditation mentorship. She works with both the deeply rooted psychological patterns that hinder our spiritual growth and the places we are stuck in our spiritual practice that obstruct our psychological maturity, in order to nurture an integrated and mature spiritual/psychological life.
Bruce Hogen Lambson Hoshi began his Buddhist studies in the 1990's in Seattle with a group affiliated with Tibetan Dzogchen teacher Sogyal Rinpoche. He first met Genpo Roshi in 1998 and in 2003 moved to Salt Lake City to join Kanzeon Zen Center. He received Jukai (Receiving the Precepts) in 2004, Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) in 2005, and Hoshi in 2022.
Bruce and his wife Jenny, who is nearing completion of her studies to be a Buddhist Chaplain through Upaya Zen Center, have a daughter, Celeste, and live in Sandy Utah.
His background is business and he currently serves in both administrative and teaching roles for Kanzeon Big Mind. Along with that Bruce enjoys playing electric bass and guitar and following world affairs, politics, and social and cultural trends, using the guidelines of Ken Wilber's Integral framework.