Many dedicated, talented people actively work in various ways to support our Ancient Dragon Zen Gate program. Here are profiles of our Practice Leaders.
Rev. Nyozan Eric Shutt is Practice Leader at our affiliated weekly group at the University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel in Hyde Park, and has served in various positions at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate on Irving Park Road. He is also on our Ethics and Reconciliation Council, previously served as chair of our board, and is available for Zen practice discussion. He was introduced to Tibetan practice at Naropa Institute in 1974 but by the mid-1980s felt more of an affinity to Zen. He has now had many years of practice with both Korean and Japanese Zen teachers. Nyozan attended a Tassajara practice period in the spring of 2009 and was ordained as a priest by Taigen in 2011. In 2014 he served as head monk (shuso) for our spring practice period. Nyozan taught zazen at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago for five years and has helped construct community gardens on the South Side. He sometimes keeps bees.
Rev. Eishin Nancy Easton is currently Tenzo or head of the kitchen at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, and also serves on our Board. She was formerly Director of ADZG for many years. She was priest ordained by Taigen in 2011, and has attended Green Gulch January intensive practice. She is available for Zen practice discussion. Eishin is a clinical psychologist who has practiced for over 12 years in both college/university and private practice settings. She lives with her husband on the north side of Chicago and has two young adult step-daughters. Eishin is also an urban bicycle advocate, and can be found biking to work, sangha, or other daily life activities.
Rev. Gyoshin Laurel Ross is currently Ino, or meditation hall supervisor at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, and also serves on our Board. She was formerly Assistant Director of ADZG. She has practiced Zazen since 1999 and was ordained as a priest by Taigen in 2014. In late 2013 Laurel retired from her long-held position of Urban Conservation Director at Chicago's Field Museum, and remains a Research Associate there. She is active in natural areas conservation in the Chicago region and internationally. Her other interests include Yang style Tai Chi, world music singing, bird watching, and native plant gardening.
Rev. Keizan Titus O'Brien was formerly an Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Board member and Tenzo (head of the kitchen). He currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and co-leads our affiliated group, Valley Dragon Zen Sangha. He was priest ordained by Taigen in 2011, and attended the Green Gulch January intensive in 2014. He is available for Zen practice discussion. Keizan has practiced Zen for over two decades, since being introduced to it in college by the composer and artist John Cage. Keizan spent years in residential training in centers and monasteries from both Korean and Japanese Zen. His understanding of Zen is informed by his creative practice as a professional artist and arts educator.
Rev. Hogetsu Laurie Belzer is a Soto Zen priest in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi. As sewing teacher at ADZG, she currently guides students in sewing Buddha's robe in preparation for lay and priest ordination, ceremonies of receiving the Bodhisattva precepts. A founding member of ADZG, Hogetsu received priest ordination in 2006 and has served in a variety of temple positions. She is available for Zen practice discussion. Hogetsu has trained intensively at all three of San Francisco Zen Centers' temples. She received a PhD in Clinical and Social Psychology in 1993 and maintains a psychotherapy practice. Hogetsu is also a student of Iyengar yoga and is inspired by the integration of ancient body, heart and mind wisdom practices into our modern urban American lifestyle.
Douglas Floyd is the Director and President of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and is a member of the board of directors. He was formerly the ADZG Ino, or meditation hall supervisor, and was lay ordained by Taigen in 2011. He has practiced at Ancient Dragon since 2007, and served as head monk (shuso) for the 2016 spring practice period. Introduced to Buddhist practice in the 70s at Tail of the Tiger, a Tibetan center in Vermont, Douglas also has practiced Zen at Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas and at the Missouri Zen Center in St. Louis. He is married, with two adult sons, and is an information technology and data privacy attorney.
Rev. Yoki Shudo Paula Lazarz is currently the Work Leader at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and serves on the Board as Secretary. Her Soto Zen training began in 2010 under Taigen Dan Leighton with periodic intensive study at San Francisco Zen Center's affiliated temples, and she was priest ordained by Taigen in February, 2016. Paula originally came to Zen practice to deepen her understanding of martial arts. A 5th-degree Black Sash in Northern Shaolin Long Fist, Paula studies common threads in the physicality, concentration practices, and Temple traditions of Soto Zen, Shaolin Kung Fu, and other Chinese martial arts, and is an authorized teacher with her own martial arts studio in Chicago. There are indeed historical links between Soto Zen and Shaolin martial arts.