Seirin Barbara Kohn is a Sōtō Zen teacher and head priest of The Austin Zen Center (AZC) in Austin, Texas, practicing in the lineage of Shunryū Suzuki. She was ordained as a Soto priest by Reb Anderson and received Dharma transmission from Zenkei Blanche Hartman—Kohn being Hartman's first Dharma heir. The Austin Zen Center's temple name, Zenkei-ji, is named after Blanche Hartman. Kohn became head priest and resident teacher of AZC on October 13, 2002. Before assuming her leadership of AZC, Kohn served as President of the San Francisco Zen Center. Kohn is a supporter of LGBT rights, having been known to offer "commitment ceremonies" for same-sex couples, stating, "I simply treat them all the same."
Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.
It is the Japanese line of the Chinese Cáodòng school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Dòngshān Liánjiè.
It emphasizes Shikantaza, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content.
The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.
With about 14,000 temples, Sōtō .
San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC), is a network of affiliated Sōtō Zen practice and retreat centers in the San Francisco Bay area, comprising City Center or Beginner's Mind Temple, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center.
The sangha was incorporated by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and a group of his American students in 1962.
Today SFZC is the largest Sōtō organization in the .
Zen was introduced in the United States at the end of the 19th century by Japanese teachers who went to America to serve groups of Japanese immigrants and become acquainted with the American culture.
Though its origins are distant, today there are plenty of prominent American Zen .