Teachers and Teachings

For many years Layla Smith, Gyokujun Teishin ("Pure Forge, Pervading Heart") has been coming regularly from her home in the San Francisco Bay Area to lead Zen retreats in Montana. Other sangha members and leaders are also increasingly assuming teaching responsibilities.

Layla Smith:
Layla Smith (Gyokujun Teishin)After studying psychology for three and a half years at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, I left to go to San Francisco Zen Center. I spent eighteen years living at Zen Center's three practice places: Tassajara, the monastery inland from Big Sur; the City Center in San Francisco; and Green Gulch Farm Zen Temple just north of San Francisco on the Marin coast. I was ordained as a priest in 1974 by Zentatsu Richard Baker. I am married and have a daughter.

In 1998 I received Dharma Transmission in the Shunryu Suzuki Roshi lineage from Zoketsu Norman Fischer. Though I have studied with many teachers, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi is my root teacher.

I lead a sitting group in Larkspur, California. The group meets twice a week for zazen plus occasional retreats (see www.mountainroot.org). Since 1998 I have been traveling regularly to Montana and to Boise, Idaho to lead retreats.

Having been born in Miles City, Montana and growing up in Cut Bank, Montana, my roots there are deep, and include my birth family, who all live in Montana, and an abiding love of the place. I want to do what I can to help make opportunities for Zen practice available in Montana.

Image in header copyrighted by and used with permission of www.montanapictures.net.
"Zen" artwork courtesy Laura Jane Coates

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