Certified Big Mind Facilitators

In 1999, Genpo Roshi created the Big Mind process, which includes and embraces both Zen and Western Psychotherapy, and he continues to lead the innovation and evolution of the Big Mind process, offering it as a upaya or skillful means to those attending Big Mind/Big Heart Retreats, Big Mind Facilitator Training Retreats, workshops, and video and teleconferences.

Eighteen years after creating the Big Mind process, in order to ensure its continuation, Roshi has selected the following students, all of whom have trained extensively and for many years, who continue to train with him in both Zen and the Big Mind process, as the first Certified Big Mind Facilitators.

These individuals are authorized to use the Big Mind logo, and conduct Big Mind workshops for those within their professions and others. At this time only Roshi has the authority to train and certify Big Mind Facilitators.

Mark Esterman

Mark Esterman Sensei leads the Salt Lake Zen Group in Salt Lake City, and also teaches courses on Zen and Meditation in the University of Utah’s Lifelong Learning program.   He began his study of Zen in 1969 with Japanese Zen Master Seikan Hasegawa, and moved to Utah in 2004 to study with Genpo Roshi from whom he received Shukke Tokudo ordination in 2004 and Dharma Transmission as a successor and teacher of Zen in 2014.  He has a PhD in English and American Literature, and he and his wife run an independent publishing company which has published books in a variety of fields including education, music, art, children’s books and gardening as well as Buddhism.   They have three children and three grandchildren.  mark@saltlakezengroup.org

Mary Ellen Sloan

Mary Ellen Sloan Sensei began studying with Genpo Roshi in 2001.  She received Jukai (Buddhist Precepts) in 2004, Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) in 2005, and Shiho (Dharma Transmission) in 2017.  Born in Montana, she 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. sloans@xmission.com

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Christian 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. sensei@kanzeon.de


Dr. Kamie Buddemeier has been a student of Genpo Roshi since 2006, studying both Big Mind and Zen, and receiving Shukke Tokudo ordination in 2008. She is a physician who lives in Wisconsin and works as an Interventional Cardiologist. She initially sought out training in Big Mind as an adjunct to patient care and healing, and quickly realized the breadth and scope of the Big Mind process and the need to be also trained in Zen to be a most effective facilitator. She has used Big Mind with patients and also general community groups in both Wisconsin and Chicago.  kamillabuddemeier@gmail.com


Dr. Paul Thielking is board certified in Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine. He works at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital with patients who are experiencing physical, emotional, and spiritual distress related to serious medical illness. Dr. Thielking has been studying Zen and Big Mind with Roshi since 1999, and received Shukke Tokudo in 2005.  He integrates the Big Mind process into his work with patients, and also in self-care workshops he leads for health care professionals.  He and his wife have two sons and live in Salt Lake City.  pthielking@gmail.com

Dr. Daniela Solzbacher joined Kanzeon Sangha in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2004. She met Genpo Roshi at a Big Mind workshop in Amsterdam and was instantly blown away by its potential, its simplicity and directness. She became a formal student of Genpo Roshi in 2006, and ordained as a Zen monk in 2009. She permanently moved to Salt Lake City in 2010, leaving her job as an ENT surgeon to study with Roshi full time. With the goal of integrating her medical background and Zen practice, she decided to switch careers and become a psychiatrist. She joined the faculty at the University of Utah and currently works at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute in Salt Lake City.  dsolzbacher@gmail.com
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Joe Hakim began studying the Big Mind process with Genpo Roshi in 2008. He has been a devoted practitioner of the Big Mind process ever since, and has been facilitating groups and individuals for the past 5 years. His spiritual practice began in his early 20’s studying meditation with Kundalini Yoga master June Burke.   Joe is an accomplished electrical engineer working at Apple and has lived in the Bay Area of Northern California for the past 30 years.    joehakim@icloud.com.

John Quigley

John Quigley began studying with Genpo Roshi in 2009 and received Shukke Tokudo ordination in May 2018. He began Zen study and a sitting practice in 1974 and has a great appreciation for the beauty, simplicity and efficacy of the Big Mind process. Professionally, he is an engineer and entrepreneur. As an engineering executive he crafts and manages high performance teams developing technologies and products that change the way we live, work and play. As an entrepreneur, along with his two sons he recently founded Qmon Adventures Ltd as both a sailing charter business and a platform for Big Mind and Team Building workshops. John lives in the San Francisco Bay area and travels extensively to stay in touch with his development teams in in California, Europe, India and China. jq.priv@gmail.com


Philip Oude-Vrielink is deeply appreciative of Genpo Roshi and has been studying with him since 2007. He is also a trained yoga teacher and wellness instructor, having taught from 1999 to 2007. A biomedical and communication engineer in the aerospace industry by background, he has been specializing in change, coaching, organizational culture and leadership development for over 20 years. He is the author of two books, Strategically Relevant Culture and Life on Purpose. He has been sharing Big Mind with individuals and groups across Australia and New Zealand since 2008. He lives in Melbourne, Australia. Philip.OudeVrielink@gmail.com

Charlotte Juul

Charlotte Juul is a Certified Psychosynthesis Counselor, and Somatic Experience Practitioner (SEP). She began a dedicated spiritual practice in 1998 and met Genpo Roshi in 2008, receiving Shukke Tokudo in 2018. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the Psychosynthesis Trust, University of East London (UK), and is presently studying for her Master’s in Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University, Boulder Colorado. Through her company, Core Work (corework.dk), she offers spiritual psychotherapy, meditation coaching, Big Mind and a variety of workshops. cjuul@me.com

Rob Velek 1

Rob Velek began studying Big Mind and Zen with Genpo Roshi in 2008, and received Shukke Tokudo 2009.  His athletic accomplishments include a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jujitsu, and  a career as an MMA competitor that was cut short by illness in 2008. An entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, he is passionately interested in modern technological advances, artificial intelligence and their integration with body, health and wellness.  He and his wife and their five children live in Vancouver, B.C.  rob@revmanagement.ca


Fiona Hayes Vincent is an Integral Master Coach who lives in West Cork on the Island of Ireland and first came across Big Mind in 2006. Recognising what a powerful transformative practice it is and what a useful tool for her coaching and consulting practice, she started studying with Genpo Roshi in 2014 and has been using Big Mind in Leadership Development Programmes. She believes passionately that to lead well one has to first work on the self and on one’s ability to achieve equanimity; and that Zen and Big Mind work perfectly towards this. fiona.hayes@orioninitiatives.com


Micheline Marcoux began studying Zen and the Big Mind process with Genpo Roshi in 2009. She was amazed at how such a beautiful, simple and powerful process allows us to shift perspective, realize our true nature and appreciate and empower every aspect of the self. She has been using it since then. Micheline started her sitting practice in 2003, holds a master’s degree in speech therapy, and has worked in counseling, education and human resources. She is now an artist painter and a consultant offering trainings and workshops to individuals and groups to support them in realizing and actualizing their full potential. Fluent in French, English and Spanish. she lives in Montreal, Canada, with her two sons. Librequilibre@yahoo.com

Denis Criado

Denis Criado began studying Big Mind and Zen with Genpo Roshi in 2009, and received Shukke Tokudo in 2016. Trained in yoga and in psychotherapy in the EE.UU. and in India, his work focuses on body psychology. For the past 7 years he has been offering Big Mind process facilitation along with body-based meditations, mindfulness and somatic practices drawn from yoga tradition to yoga teachers, professional athletes, business leaders and their teams, and psychologists. He has a PhD in Consciousness Studies from CIIS (San Francisco), with Ken Wilber as one of his advisors, and an MA in Transpersonal Psychology from ITP (California). He graduated from Cambridge University, England, in Theology and Philosophy. Denis lives with his family in Madrid and London.  denis.criado@gmail.com

Brent Mitchell

Brent Mitchell began studying with Genpo Roshi in 1999, received Jukai in 2008 and Shukke Tokudo in 2018. He led his first Big Mind workshops with school children in 2010 and is currently leading workshops for Chinese students through the Tang Space cultural center in Beijing China. He also develops living facilities for older people, pioneering an Assisted Living/Memory Care wellness program that builds strong interpersonal relationships with personal presence, attention and touch, helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives. Brent travels between Beijing and San Diego California. He can be contacted at ocean@ibisaware.com or through  www.ibisaware.com.

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