SZBA Board Member Profiles

Posted in news on February 21st, 2018

The Board of the SZBA leads the organization, develops and finalizes policy decisions, represents the membership, and gives thought to future directions for the organization.

The Board seeks to embody a balance of various factors including gender, lineage, geography and approach to training.

The Board members of the SZBA include:

Tenku Ruff

Tenku Ruff (President)

New York, NY

Tenku trained in Zen monasteries in Japan and North America. She ordained as a priest under Tessai Yamamoto Roshi, Abbot of Kannonji Temple in Morioka, Japan and received dharma transmission in the same lineage. Tenku holds a Master of Divinity degree from Maitripa College and she is also a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC). Tenku has interests in ethics, chaplaincy, and inter-Buddhist / interfaith dialogue.

Franz, Koun

Koun Franz (Vice President)

Nova Scotia, Canada

Koun Franz was born in Helena, Montana, but has spent more than half of his adult life in Japan. He was ordained in 2001, then trained at Zuioji and Shogoji monasteries. From 2006 to 2010, he served as resident priest of the Anchorage Zen Community in Alaska. Koun and his family now live in Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia), where he leads practice at Zen Nova Scotia and works for Buddhadharma magazine.


Jyoshin Clay (Secretary)

Portland, OR

Jyoshin Clay began practicing at Dharma Rain Zen Center in 2001. She was ordained by Kyogen Carlson in 2008 and spent three months at Zen Mountain Monastery in New York in the fall of 2011. She is currently working on an M.Div degree from Maitripa College in Portland. Jyoshin’s interests include ceremony and ritual studies, and the use of form as a training tool. She enjoys facilitating small group talks and discussions.







Chimyo Atkinson

Alexander, NC

Chimyo Atkinson received Dharma transmission under Rev. Teijo Munnich in 2015.  She received her monastic training in Japan and the US.  She currently serves as Head of Practice at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in Alexander, North Carolina.


Peg Syverson
Austin, TX
Peg has been studying and practicing Zen since 1966. From 1990 until 2011, she was a student of Joko Beck, who originally authorized her to teach. From 2001 to 2006, she also trained with Flint Sparks at Austin Zen Center in the formal Japanese tradition of Suzuki Roshi, and was ordained as a Soto Zen priest there in 2004. She had formal priest training in residence at Austin Zen Center and at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon. Peg is a co-founder of the Zen center named Appamada in Austin, Texas. Peg received dharma transmission from Kosho McCall in 2014.
Charlie Pokorny
Sebastapol, CA
Charlie practiced as a resident at Tassajara and Green Gulch Farm for 12 years and was ordained as a priest by Reb Anderson in 1999. He and his family now live in Sebastopol where he teaches at Stone Creek Zen Center. Charlie also teaches courses at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. Particular interests right now include inclusivity, ritual practice and crossfit.

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