Teachers

In April 2022, Sessei Meg Levie became the head priest of Stone Creek Zen Center, succeeding Dojin Emerson and Korin Pokorny, who had served in the role since 2014. Sessei serves with Founding Teacher Jisho Warner to offer the Dharma through talks, classes, individual practice discussion and other programs. You are welcome to make an appointment with any of the teachers to talk about Zen practice and its place in your life (click here for info on dokusan).

Sessei Meg Levie, Head Priest, has been practicing Soto Zen for over 30 years and has lived in residence at all three centers of the San Francisco Zen Center. She received ordination as a Zen priest in 2003 from Tenshin Reb Anderson and held the position of shuso (head student) in 2007. She has studied Buddhism in Thailand and Japan, and for several years served as the teacher for the Bolinas branch of the Mountain Source Sangha. Since 2008 Meg has taught mindfulness and emotional intelligence in business, primarily through the Search Inside Yourself program created at Google. She is especially interested in how Buddhist teachings can offer insights and practices to help us meet our current ecological crisis. She holds an AB in English Literature  from Stanford University and an MA from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jisho

Jisho Warner Roshi, Founding Teacher, established Stone Creek in Sebastopol in 1996 and has taught at Stone Creek continuously since then. As Abiding Teacher, Jisho Roshi makes her warm presence and deep teachings available to us in groups and individually. Jisho trained in the U.S. under Dainin Katagiri Roshi in Minnesota, Tozen Akiyama Roshi in Wisconsin, and Koshi Ichida Sensei in Massachusetts. She trained in Nagoya, Japan, as well, under Shundo Aoyama Roshi. She has long been active in the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, the principal Soto priest organization in the U.S., and was its first LGBTQ president. Jisho has edited numerous books on the Dharma, including Opening the Hand of Thought, by Kosho Uchiyama, and Nothing is Hidden: Zen Master Dogen’s Instructions to the Cook.

 

In gratitude –

FORMER TEACHERS AT STONE CREEK

Dojin Sarah Emerson and Korin Charlie Pokorny served as co-head priests at Stone Creek Zen Center from 2014 to 2022. They currently are in the process of relocating with their family to Brooklyn, NY.

Dojin Sarah Emerson (she/her) began formal practice in Soto Zen in 1996, and she lived and trained at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and other sites of the San Francisco Zen Center from 1998-2007. She received Dharma Transmission from Abbott Konjin Gaelyn Godwin of the Houston Zen Center in 2015. She has a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies, and has worked in the fields of mental health and pastoral care with children and adults. As a priest in the U.S., Sarah is committed to centering anti-racist practice. She experiences Bodhisattva Zen practice as uniquely supportive to inquiring into, challenging, and transforming systems of oppression, particularly racial inequities and the harm they cause within convert Buddhist sanghas and in U.S. society generally. Sarah has also worked for many years in grief support—clinically, pastorally, and in community—specializing in ceremonies for child loss.

Korin Charlie Pokorny was ordained as a Zen priest by Reb Anderson in 1999. He practiced as a resident at Tassajara and Green Gulch Farm for 12 years, including serving as Tenzo (Head Cook) and director at Tassajara. He holds a master’s degree from Stanford University in Religious Studies, and he has brought a breadth of perspective on the direction that Soto Zen is taking in the world today through his recent position as director of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. He also teaches at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

Joko Hazelwood (1931-2014)

Joko.
Joko Haselwood began practicing Zen with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1963 but remained with him for only one and a half years. Later, he resumed practice with Jakusho Kwong Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, and remained with him for fifteen years and was ordained as a Zen priest. He left Sonoma Mountain in 2000 and began studying at Stone Creek Zen Center with Jisho Warner Roshi. He received dharma transmission (permission to teach) from her and became Associate teacher at Stone Creek. He led the Empty Bowl Sangha for many years. He emphasized the practice of “just sitting” (Shikantaza) and the need to reconnect our body and mind in the practice of being present to life as it arises moment by moment.
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Soto Zen in Sonoma County