Awakening Together

The Brattleboro Zen Center was founded in 2021, with the intention of providing sanctuary to anyone looking for guidance, friendship, and structure on the Buddhist path. Due to COVID-19, it initially offered its programs solely through Zoom for its first 10 months, before in-person practice began in 2022. This allows us to engage in the rituals of zazen, bowing and chanting with the embodied intimacy that has always been at the heart of Zen. We have so far decided not to offer “hybrid” programs; our in-person events are solely for those who are in the room, and our online offering of morning zazen five days a week happens solely over Zoom.

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.  

Click Here to read more about Brattleboro Zen Center’s Ethical Guidelines and Procedures.




Smiling Zen Priest





Founder and Guiding Teacher

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. Hakusho’s interest in Buddhism and Buddhist practice first arose during his college studies in Human Ecology in Sweden, his country of origin. A yearlong journey through monasteries and retreat centers in India and Thailand led him to enter residence at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center 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 in Berkeley, California, and works as an interfaith 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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