We at Puget Sound Zen Center, like so many in our country and indeed the world, feel anguish at the tragic loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and of so many other Black lives – to violence stemming from systemic racism which has been a part of this country’s legacy since its very beginning.
Though we feel we are a welcoming community, the truth is we at PSZC have not put enough work into the issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and bias. We commit to being present with these issues in a way that transforms our sangha and the wider community. We commit to directing the fruits of our practice toward acknowledging and reducing discrimination based on race in our sangha, our community, and our world.
Every day we vow to transform the three poisons, greed, hatred, and ignorance. Surely these are the poisonous roots that have fueled racism for millennia – greed for wealth and superiority; hatred of the other; and ignorance of our fundamental commonality. How shall we transform these poisons?
Every day we chant “Beings are numberless, I vow to liberate them.” How shall we liberate ourselves from the unconscious biases we hold? How shall we liberate others from their biases, and how shall we liberate others from the harm caused by racism?
As an institution we must do our part. We recognize that the work will be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but we are committed to that work, guided by a vision of a world in which racism, hatred, and greed are transformed into compassion, love, and inclusivity.
Koshin Christopher Cain, Abbot
Genko Kathy Blackman, Adjunct Teacher
Board of Directors
The Puget Sound Zen Center is a community dedicated to practicing Zen, to teaching and living Buddhist principles, to supporting a vibrant sangha, and to serving our wider community.
Located on Vashon Island, the center is part of the life of the island while serving the wider Puget Sound area. Starting in January 2020 you will be able to find us in West Seattle as well. Our community is open to all regardless of age, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, or gender identity, or sexual orientation.
We hold practice a few times a week and schedule a number of retreats annually. We also offer family programs, dharma study classes, discussion groups, community service opportunities, and a precepts program. We are members of the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness and the Northwest Dharma Association.
Some at the Zen Center have been practicing Zen or other forms of meditations for decades and some are just starting out. Some attend services with other spiritual communities in addition to Zen.
Wherever you are in your spiritual practice you are welcome here.
Koshin Christopher Cain is Abbot of the Puget Sound Zen Center. Koshin was born in 1965 and grew up in London, England, and Raleigh, North Carolina.
He graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a BA in American Studies in 1987. In 1990 he moved to Mt. Baldy Zen Center in California, he ordained in 1991, and trained at Mt. Baldy as a monk from 1991 to 1999.
In 1999 Joshu Roshi made him an Osho, or teacher. From 1999 to 2002 he served as Vice-abbot of Mt. Baldy Zen Center. In 2003 he moved to Vashon Island and became the founding teacher of the Puget Sound Zen Center. Since 2009, Koshin has been the formal teacher of the Rinzai Zen Center in Oslo.
He is responsible for the direction of the Zen practice there, and visits the center twice a year. Koshin is married to Soshin Lidunn Cain, and they have a son, Lars, born in 2001, and daughter Eva, born in 2004.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Genko Kathy Blackman trained in the Rinzai Zen tradition under Genki Takabayashi Roshi at Chobo-Ji in Seattle since 1983. She was ordained in 1997 and authorized to teach in 2007. As part of her Zen training she has studied and practiced Japanese tea ceremony since 2000. She also has practiced for a number of years with Sharon Salzberg in the Insight Meditation tradition and at Nalandabodhi in Seattle with Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, a Kagyu and Nyingma Tibetan lineage holder.
The Board of Directors works with the Abbot, Committees, and the sangha to create an overall vision and goals for the Zen Center, and oversees the carrying out of these goals.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | A copy of our bylaws can be found here.
Karen joined the Zen center in December of 2015 after attending the Island’s Thanksgiving Interfaith service and hearing the Buddhist story of the man the tiger and the strawberry - enjoying the strawberry in the moment connected with her. Her full time job keeps her busy working at hydro powerhouses and fish hatcheries in western Washington. Her other passions include deepening her Zen practice, taking care of the forest, exploring her creativity, travel and staying connected to family and friends.
Diane has been a member of PSZC since 2016. She and her husband John have lived in Burton since coming to Vashon in 2002. Diane is a retired teacher, former accountant, part time weaver, gardener, traveller and life long student. She came to the Zen Center to meditate and study Buddhism and now enjoys a new role as sangha treasurer. Zen offers her daily reminders that time flies like an arrow.
Elizabeth has been attending the Zen Center since December of 2015. Her interest in Japanese spirituality was triggered by a love of Japanese Samurai movies in the 1960’s. She studied the Japanese Tea Ceremony for about 15 years and learned the grace and mindfulness of the Japanese culture. In 1992, she performed a tea ceremony for world peace with the Oomoto School of Japanese Arts. The Sangha provides Elizabeth with a space to deepen spiritual practice with Zen meditation, dharma study and community.
Carol came to PSZC when she and a colleague offered a six-week study, “Waking Fully to Living and Dying” in 2012. The wisdom, commitment and kindness she found there piqued her curiosity. As a Quaker, she is challenged to integrate her growing Zen practice with her Christian background. Before moving to Vashon, Carol enjoyed a 35-year career in non-profit management. Her new “career” is focused on death and dying and end-of-life ministry. She is happiest in her garden and kitchen and on her E-bike. She and Bob are parents of two children and two grandchildren.
Jean began regular meditation 15 years ago with a group at the Saltwater Unitarian Church in Des Moines. She lives with her husband, Tom, in Burien. They enjoy tandem cycling, kayaking, hiking and skiing together. Jean is a retired Project Manager who now loves to garden and play the piano as much as possible. Two children, 4 grandchildren and one great-grandchild live close enough to visit frequently. Jean meditates each morning as well as weekly in the evening with the new Monday West Seattle PSZC satellite as well as the Tuesday Saltwater group.
Josh joined the PSZC shortly after he and his family moved to Vashon in late 2017. He is the father of two boys—who sometimes join him for sits. Josh is a scientist and professor at the University of Washington where he studies conservation and climate change. He has been meditating since 2003 and is grateful for the balance his practice has brought to his life and the support of the PSZC sangha.
In February 2014 the Board announced its decision to end PSZC’s affiliation with Rinzai-ji, Inc. A copy of the letter announcing that decision can be found here
The Communications Committee publicizes the events and activities of PSZC with the goal of reaching as many potential stakeholders and attendees as possible. It manages the website, print communication, ads and flyers. We are always looking for volunteers! Email email@example.com to contact the committee.
Chair: Lynda Fitzpatrick (2018 – 2021)
Gerrit Van Roekel
Kaj Wyn Berry
The purpose of the Ethics Committee is to ensure the ethical conduct of members and teachers in all programs and activities. It is on-call to address any ethical issues that may arise for the sangha, and to provide a yearly ethics review. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the committee with an ethical concern or issue, or for more information. The ethics committee charter is here, and the teacher ethics policy and process document is here.
The Board and Ethics Committee voted in October 2016 to enact a Grievance and Reconciliation Policy for sangha members. It can be found here.
Chair: Susan Traff (2020 -2021)
The Fundraising Committee raises funds to supplement PSZC’s income and meet the annual budget.
Chair: Berneta Walraven (2019 – 2021)
The Membership Committee takes care of sangha members and strives to encourage individuals who are interested in the practice, activities and work of PSZC to join as sustaining members. Members of the Membership Committee welcome people to the Sangha and expresses appreciation to sangha members. Email email@example.com to contact the committee.
Chair: Elizabeth Nelson (2018 – 2021)
The Property Committee ensures that 1) the Zendo is a warm and functioning space; and 2) the land is in a state of good maintenance and usable for sangha activities. Anyone is welcome at our meetings. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the committee.
Chair: John Sweetman (2020 -2021)
Gerrit Van Roekel
The Programs Committee is responsible for developing the annual program calendar and subsequent monthly schedule of events and activities. Anyone is welcome at our meetings, and ideas for new Zen Center programs are always welcome anytime. Email email@example.com to contact the committee.
Chair: Rachael Osborn (2019-2021)
West Seattle Programs Committee
The West Seattle Committee is responsible for developing and promoting programs to serve the West Seattle community.
Chair: Jean Spohn (2020 – 2022)
Vice Chair: Chanomi Maxwell-Parish
Mentor: Jim Hunziker
Weddings and funeral officiating by the Abbot are included as part of Zen Center membership. Reasonable travel reimbursements are to be paid directly to the Abbot.
For nonmembers, wedding and funeral officiating by the Abbot is offered at a rate to be determined by the Abbot plus travel expenses, paid directly to the Abbot, and is subject to the Abbot’s overall availability.
For both members and non-members, pre-marital counseling by the Abbot is offered at a rate of $50 an hour, to be paid directly to the Abbot.
All our events are held online at the present time. The Zoom password is 108108. When it is safe to meet in person again, a physical location will be announced.
PO Box 2644
Vashon WA 98070