Rev. Kuzan Peter Schireson is the teacher of the Saturday morning Zen and Interfaith Meditation group in Fresno, California and Practice Leader at Empty Nest Zendo in the Sierra Foothills. He was ordained as a Lay Teacher by Sojun Mel Weitsman of Berkeley Zen Center in 2003 and as a Soto Zen priest by Chikudo Lew Richmond of Vimala Zen Center in 2008. Peter was originally introduced to practice by Joshu Sasaki Roshi in 1964 and has practiced since then in the Suzuki Roshi lineage in California as well as in the Rinzai koan tradition with Keido Fukushima Roshi, the now retired abbot of Tofuku-ji Monastery in Kyoto, Japan.
Peter was educated at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Victoria, and Harvard University. After ten years as a teacher and school district administrator, Peter had a long business career in consulting, high technology, and most recently in market research. He is the husband of Myoan Grace Schireson, Abbess of Central Valley Zen Foundation. He is especially interested in Zen practice as it arises in and enlivens everyday life in the world and is a grandfather, and a student of classical and flamenco guitar.
Rev. Kuzan’s Website
Do’on Andy Young is a founding member of the Valley Heartland Zen Group, serving in a variety of positions for the group. Andy began Zen training with Myoan Grace Schireson in 2001 and received Lay Ordination in March of 2004. He served as Shuso for the Central Valley Zen groups during the summer of 2005 and was ordained a Zen priest in September of 2008. He grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Central California, studied Contemporary Continental philosophy as a graduate student, and is now a Professor of Philosophy at CSU, Stanislaus where he teaches a variety of courses including Eastern Philosophy. He is a father who enjoys hiking, writing, playing blues piano, and the challenge of bringing Zen practice into lay life.
Ezo Doug Wilson is also a founding member of the Modesto Valley Heartland Zen Group. He received Lay Ordination in March of 2004 and was ordained a Zen priest in December of 2005. He served as Shuso in 2008. In 2005 Ezo spent nine months at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County and in 2006 did two practice periods at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Ezo currently lives in Modesto and is a carpenter by trade.
Myogo Mary-Allen Macneil is a Roman Catholic who turned to Zen meditation practice in search of a non-cognitive approach to the divine and a way of living a deep spiritual commitment in ordinary life. She has been studying Zen with Myoan Grace Schireson since 1998, and received lay ordination in October of 2002. She served as Shuso at Empty Nest Zendo in the practice period of 2007, and was ordained as a Zen priest in September of 2009. Mary-Allen has served in a variety of supporting roles at ENZ, and she completed the SPOT program in October 2009. With other sangha members, she teaches meditation at Valley State Women’s Prison and a course in Zen Meditation for Stress Reduction in Oakhurst. She also serves as a volunteer chaplain with Hinds Hospice in the foothills of Eastern Madera County. Mary-Allen is a retired nurse-midwife. She is married and has two daughters and two grand-daughters.
Josei Myoko Sara Hunsaker, who received zazen instruction from Suzuki-Roshi in 1968, went to India in 1972 learning Vipassana meditation with Goenka-ji in Varanasi. She has actively practiced in the Soto tradition of Suzuki-Roshi since 1988 when she began practicing with the Monterey Bay Zen group under the guidence of Sobun Katherine Thanas, from whom she received lay ordination in 1991. Her pilgrimage to Japan with eleven other women had a profound effect. Upon her immersion in practice, she retired from college textbook production in 1995 to deepen her practice by training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for three practice periods and also at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center. After becoming a student of Myoan Grace Schireson, Sensei, she received priest ordination in 2008.
Sara lives in Carmel Valley and for two years has been teaching a meditation class (Finding Your Way) at the Carmel Valley Community Church. She is a sewing teacher and has studied with Zenkei Blanche Hartman, Roshi. She will be the shuso for the Empty Nest Zendo 2010 practice period. This is the seventh practice period for the Central Valley Zen community. Gratefully she continues to find her way.