The Reverend James Ishmael Ford (Myoun Roshi) was ordained a Soto Zen priest in 1969 and trained at temples in San Francisco and Oakland, then at Shasta Abbey in Mt. Shasta, California. He received Dharma transmission from Rev. Houn Jiyu Kennett in 1971. Later, he spent many years studying with the koan teacher Dr. John Tarrant, and in 2005 received inka shomei from him.
James is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA). He served on the membership committee of the AZTA for a decade.
(He was also for many years a member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) and served a term as a member of its board. At the beginning of 2023 he felt the differences in their mission and his work were sufficiently large that he resigned his membership.)
He is also an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. James served as a parish minister for twenty-five years and is minister-emeritus of the First Unitarian Church of Providence. He currently serves as consulting minister with the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles.
James maintains a long running blog as Monkey Mind, hosted at Patheos. He is the author of several books on Zen and its practices. His sixth book, the Intimate Way is due from Shambhala Publications in 2023.
James and his spouse Jan Seymour-Ford divide their time between their home in Long Beach and Jan’s mother’s home in Tujunga, California, where they help her living independently.
The Reverend Edward Sanshin Oberholtzer, Sensei, has been a student of Zen for over twenty years.
Ed was ordained Unsui by Myoun Roshi in 2007. He was given Denkai and Denbo, full dharma Transmission by Myoun Roshi in June, 2021.
Originally trained as a lawyer, Ed served as a housing attorney for Legal Services in New Bedford, Massachusetts before changing professions to become the social science bibliographer at the Tisch Library of Tufts University. For several years before retirement Ed served as director of the Thomas Beaver Free Library in Danville, Pa.
He is the resident priest at the Joseph Priestley Zen Community in Northumberland, Pennsylvania. He serves as a chaplain at Bucknell University and as a Community Minister with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley. Ed also serves on the Prophetic Council of the Poor People’s Campaign for Moral Revival.
He lives with his wife, Dr. Karen Wolf, in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
The Reverend Janine Seitetsu Larsen has been a student of Zen since 2001. She took Jukai in 2005 from Roshis Chozen & Hogen Bays at Great Vow Zen Monastery, part of the Zen Community of Oregon (ZCO), and became a Community Zen Leader with ZCO in 2013 after completing Sanghakai, a three year training program.
In 2015, Janine began koan study with Myoun Roshi, and in 2017, the Bright Cloud practice groups she leads in the Seattle area joined the Empty Moon Zen Sanghas.
On December 7, 2019, Janine was ordained a Zen priest-in-training (Unsui) by Myoun Roshi and installed as Resident Priest of the Bright Cloud Zen Practice Groups. She received Denkai Transmission and ordination as a full priest from Myoun Roshi in 2022.
Janine has been Director of Ministries at the University Unitarian Church (UUC) in Seattle, Washington, since 2016. Prior to that, she served the Unitarian Universalist Association for 12 years as the Pacific Northwest District Executive and as a member of Regional Staff, following a 20 year career in nonprofit management with a specialty in fundraising, marketing, and strategic planning.
Janine lives with her spouse in Woodinville, WA.
Mo Weinhardt has been a dedicated Zen practitioner for almost 20 years. She trained with the Zen Peacemakers before becoming a student of Myoun Roshi in 2009.
In August 2022, Mo received Denkai Transmission from Myoun Roshi, and is a Dharma Holder within the Empty Moon Zen lineage.
An experienced educator, Mo holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MS from Lesley University, and has worked with students across the developmental spectrum in a variety of settings. She is the Director of Knowledge Management and Content Creation at Mach49, a global business incubator.
She lives in Oakland with her husband, Tom.
Tom Wardle has been a student of Zen for over twenty five years, training with the Kwan Um School, the Zen Peacemakers, and Boundless Way Zen. In 2009, he completed residential training in the Zen Peacemakers’ Seminary for Socially Engaged Buddhism.
In August 2022, Tom received Denkai Transmission from Myoun Roshi and is a Dharma Holder within the Empty Moon Zen lineage.
An educator by profession, Tom has worked in the classroom, as a consultant, and in nonprofit leadership. He received his MBA from Hult International School of Business in spring 2021 and now works for a leading edtech startup.
Tom lives in Oakland, California with his wife, Mo.
Jan Seymour-Ford has been a student of Zen for more than a quarter of a century. She has studied with several teachers, most notably Dr. John Tarrant and Roshi Melissa Myozen Blacker, who designated Jan as a Senior Dharma Teacher.
Jan is a retired librarian active in social justice work. Jan’s practice has brought her to a deep experience of the reality that we are all one, and she believes that Solomon Burke expressed this beautifully when he sang, “none of us are free if one of us is chained.” This realization compels her to work for equity and justice, which finds several venues in the Long Beach and Southern California areas.
She lives with her spouse, James Ford, in Long Beach & Tujunga, California.
Chris Hoff has been a student of Zen for many years, training in both the Kwan Um and Soto traditions.
He is a Dharma Teacher within our Empty Moon Zen sanghas.
In August, 2022, Chis was installed as Practice Leader for the Zen Recovery Sangha, which currently meets on Monday nights.
Chris has a PhD in marriage and family therapy. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the California Family Institute (CFI), a nonprofit organization established to provide desperately needed, low- and no-cost counseling services to under-resourced communities throughout Southern California. CFI also provides training for mental-health professionals and conducts research in the field.
Chris lives in Huntington Beach with his wife, Michele.
Dinah Hartley began Zen practice with the Bright Cloud Zen group at University Unitarian Church (Seattle) in 2016. She received the precepts Jukai in spring 2019.
Dinah has filled several leadership roles in our Empty Moon and Bright Cloud sanghas, including Head Jisha, Doan, Jiki-Jitsu, Assistant Tenzo, and discussion/ small group facilitator. She also leads our Monday Night Practice Group.
She was named an Assistant Practice Leader with Empty Moon Zen in January 2021 and was appointed Practice Leader in October 2022.
Now retired, Dinah serves on the Care Team at her Unitarian church, plays in the Handbell Choir, and is active in several justice groups. She also enjoys square dancing, singing, board games & jigsaw puzzles, and is an avid Trekkie.