The mission of the Brattleboro Zen Center is to foster a community centered in Soto Zen ritual, zazen, and the study of Buddhist teachings as transmitted through the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. We offer refuge to anyone looking for guidance, friendship, and structure on the Buddhist path. We wake up together, not alone.
Brattleboro Zen Center Board of Directors
Qayyum Johnson – Board Chair
Qayyum Johnson was born into an American Sufi family. He lived for 12 years at San Francisco Zen Center, primarily at Green Dragon Zen Temple, where he trained as an organic vegetable farmer and served as Head Monk of a practice period in 2015. He has tread a few different paths since leaving SFZC (hospice volunteer, prison meditation group leader, postal worker, sometime carpenter, arts non-profit co-director) and sitting zazen with compassionate open awareness is what weaves the journey together. Qayyum currently resides on the island of Hawai’i where he caretends land and practices creative writing. He warmly invites feedback about how to best serve the well-being & flourishing of Brattleboro Zen Center.
Paula Marks – Secretary
Paula Marks moved to the Brattleboro area in March 2021 after a career as a professor of American studies/academic administrator. She began exploring Zen through a visit to Upaya a number of years ago. Interested in how Taoism, Christian mysticism, and Zen interrelate, she embraces the opportunity to explore the boundless dharma gates with other BZC members. She also embraces the opportunity to ramble the unpaved roads of Vermont – except in mud season.
John Woodland – Treasurer
John Woodland graduated from Marlboro College and Vermont Law School in the 1970’s. He practiced law for 23 years at his own firm in southern New Jersey, spending his leisure time scuba diving local shipwrecks and sailing. He also served as a volunteer leader on local fire departments, vice chair of a school board, and deputy mayor on a town council. Leaving his law practice, John and his wife Patty spent 2 1/2 years traveling the country, visiting national parks. They settled in western Montana, where John worked as a rural fire chief and served as the board chair of a district hospital. Here they built an energy efficient home with passive solar, heat pump and large solar array, producing most of their food. During this period, John also became active in the climate movement, serving as a co-chair of 350Montana. In 2021, John, Patty and 5 rescued stray cats moved back to Brattleboro. John remains active in the climate movement through 350Brattleboro and Third Act Vermont. He has been practicing Zen for over two decades with Sanghas on both coasts, including the participation in sesshins at Great Vow Monastery.
Alison Bundy – Board Member
Alison Bundy grew up in Maine and France, and lived most of her adult life in Rhode Island. She joined BZC in April of 2021 and has continuing gratitude for the practice and community found there. She has worked as a short-order grill cook, waitress, bartender, house cleaner, dog walker, cat wrangler, reference- metadata- and acquisitions- librarian, and has taught ESL, basic writing skills, and welding and drafting for plumbers. She is the author of two books of short fiction, A Bad Business, and, DunceCap, and of a miniscule novel, Tale of a Good Cook.
Suiko McCall – Board Member
Suiko McCall founded the Art Monastery Project in 2007, an international arts organization dedicated to applying the collaborative and intentional “social sculpture” of monastic life to art-making and creativity. She lived at Green Gulch Farm / Green Dragon Zen Temple in California on and off between 2014 and 2018. Studying and practicing in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi, Suiko received her dharma name and the bodhisattva precepts from Green Gulch Abbess Fu Schroeder in 2019. Suiko’s central life practice is the bridging of Buddhist philosophy with creative-making and her meditative paintings have been exhibited from San Francisco and New York to Amsterdam and Rome. Garnering degrees from Yale University and San Francisco Art Institute, she published the book Hosting Transformation: Stories from the Edge of Changemaking, followed in 2015 with a workbook Live Your Dream: Start Here. Start Now.
Hakusho Johan Ostlund – 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, both at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center and at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He was ordained as a priest in 2012 by Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbess Furyu Nancy Schroeder and received Dharma Transmission from her in 2023. During his residence at SFZC, Hakusho held numerous temple administrator positions, including as Tanto (Head of Practice), Ino (Head of the Meditation Hall), Treasurer and Guest Student Manager. As BZC’s Guiding Teacher, Hakusho seeks to convey the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha as it continues to be transmitted to him through his teachers. He founded the Brattleboro Zen Center in 2021 and has been consistently amazed by the enthusiastic response of new and seasoned Zen students in the local community and beyond.