Our Story

The Brattleboro Zen Center was founded in 2021, during the covid-19 pandemic. It was started with the intention of building a Zen practice community that provides sanctuary to anyone looking for guidance, friendship, and structure on the Buddhist path. The primary practice that we engage in together is Zen meditation, known as zazen (sitting zen) in Japanese. In the tradition of Soto Zen, meditation is a communal activity and awakening is a collective matter. We wake up together, not alone. We aspire for our Zen practice to help heal and change the world, and for our own awakening and healing to occur through our relationships to the world and all its inhabitants.

We welcome everyone to this community of practice, regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.

In-person practice begun early 2022 at Epsilon Spires. In early 2023, the Brattleboro Zen Center moved into its own zendo at Centre Congregational Church in downtown Brattleboro, where we engage in the rituals of zazen, bowing and chanting with the embodied intimacy that has always been at the heart of Zen.






Hakushō Johan Ostlund

Guiding Teacher & Founder

Hakushō Johan Ostlund is a Soto Zen priest ordained in the Shunryu Suzuki Roshi lineage. Hakusho trained in residence at the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) for 14 years, both at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Hakusho’s interest in Buddhism and Buddhist practice first arose during his college studies in Human Ecology in Sweden, his country of origin. He soon found himself on a yearlong journey through monasteries and retreat centers in India and Thailand. At the conclusion of this journey, Hakusho entered residence at Green Gulch Farm as an apprentice in their organic farm and garden program. He was ordained as a Soto Zen priest by Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbess Furyu Nancy Schroeder in 2012 and received Dharma transmission from her in 2023. During his time in residence at SFZC, he held numerous temple administrator positions, including those of Tanto (Head of Practice), Ino (Head of the Meditation Hall), Treasurer, and Guest Student Manager.

Hakusho has a Masters of Divinity degree from the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California and works as an inter-faith chaplain. He moved with his wife to Vermont in 2020.

In his role of Zen priest, meditation teacher, and Sangha leader, Hakusho seeks to convey the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha as it has been transmitted to him through his teachers. He sees the paths of personal and collective liberation as inseparable from each other and aspires for practice at Brattleboro Zen Center to reflect this nonduality.

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Support the Brattleboro Zen Center

If any of our offerings help sustain you in your practice, or if the awareness of this newly formed Sangha finding its way is a source of inspiration to you, please consider formalizing your support for the Brattleboro Zen Center.  We invite you to become a Member by making a recurring donation of whatever amount is appropriate to your means and well-being.

Membership Pledge

Brattleboro Zen Center is funded solely by donations. If you are moved by what we offer, please consider supporting us. A little goes a long way towards covering our operating expenses; a recurring donation goes even further.