SZBA Board Member Profiles

Posted in news on November 27th, 2016

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 (Co-Vice President)

Nova Scotia

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 (some of his talks from that time can be found here). Koun and his family now live in Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia), where he leads practice at Zen Nova Scotia and works for Buddhadharma magazine.


Boulder Mountain Zendo - Diane Musho Hamilton 2

Diane Musho Hamilton  (Co-Vice President)

Salt Lake City, Utah

Diane has been a practitioner of meditation for almost 30 years. Diane began her studies at Naropa University in 1983 with Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche, and became a Zen student of Genpo Roshi’s in 1997. In 2003, she received ordination as a Zen monk with her husband Michael Zimmerman, and received dharma transmission from Roshi in 2006. Diane facilitates Big Mind Big Heart, a process developed by Genpo Roshi to help elicit the insights of Zen in Western audiences. She has worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute since 2004.  For her, Zen practice is a fundamental commitment to experiencing reality as it is — beautiful, ungraspable and seamless, nothing other than your own life. It is also a practice in fearlessness, in compassion, and in seeing the wisdom in all situations and greeting them with a joyous mind.


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 in the Katagiri lineage.  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, PhD.
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, under the guidance of the Abbots, Jan Chozen Bays and Hogen Bays. Peg is a co-founder of the Zen center named Appamada in Austin, Texas. You can read more about Appamada at the website, In 2014, Peg received dharma transmission in the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, with Kosho McCall.

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