Dokusan and Practice Discussion
Individual, Private Meetings to Explore Zen Practice Questions and Experiences
Sometimes questions arise about how things work in the temple or you might want to share experiences that arise within Zen meditation or practice. Since Buddha’s time, Buddhist practice has been nurtured through dharma discussions with spiritual friends. Dokusan and Practice Discussion are private, face-to-face meetings that are a great place to inquire into your personal dharma practice.
At Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, there are two ways to meet to explore questions or experiences of Zen practice and Buddhism in individual, private meetings: Dokusan with our Guiding Teacher and Practice Discussion with experienced Practice Leaders.
Dokusan is a formal meeting with our Guiding Teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton. Dokusan with Taigen is typically offered when he leads longer meditation retreats (sesshin), where a signup list will be available. At all other times, Taigen is available for dokusan, which can be arranged by a personal request to him.
Practice Discussion is a less formal way to discuss practice with a Practice Leader, who is a senior member of the ADZG community. Practice discussion can be arranged by personal request to any of the Practice Leaders.
Practice Leaders available for Practice Discussion are listed below.
Rev. Nyozan Eric Shutt
Rev. Nyozan Eric Shutt is an authorized Dharma Teacher and has served in various temple positions at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. For many years he guided meditation at our affiliated weekly group at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel in Hyde Park, 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. And in 2019, Nyozan received dharma transmission from Taigen. 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. Hogetsu Laurie Belzer
Rev. Hogetsu Laurie Belzer is a Soto Zen priest in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and a clinical psychologist. Hogetsu currently serves ADZG as a temple priest hosting Thursday morning zazen, practice leader, and sewing teacher. Hogetsu has trained intensively at all three of San Francisco Zen Center’s temples since 1989 and served as Shuso (Head Monk) with Dharma Teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson, at SFZC’s Green Gulch Farm during the Fall Practice Period of 2015. A founding member of ADZG, she has supported the evolution of our practice center since its genesis and most recently helped to realize the new ADZG website. One of her favorite Zen verses comes from a Green Gulch Farm t-shirt: “Working hard, accomplishing nothing”.
Rev. Yoki Shudo Paula Lazarz
Rev. Yoki Shudo Paula Lazarz has served as Ancient Dragon’s Work Leader, Tenzo and Board Secretary. Her Soto Zen training began in 2010 under Taigen Dan Leighton with periodic intensive study at San Francisco Zen Center’s affiliated temples. She was priest ordained by Taigen in February, 2016. Paula originally came to Zen practice to deepen her understanding of martial arts. A 6th-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 Chinese Qigong. She is an authorized teacher with her own martial arts studio in Chicago. There are indeed historical links between Soto Zen and Shaolin martial arts.
Rev. Eishin Nancy Easton
Rev. Eishin Nancy Easton is an authorized Dharma Teacher and currently Tanto, or Practice Teacher at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, and also serves on our Board. She was formerly Director for many years and Tenzo or head of the kitchen at ADZG. She was priest ordained by Taigen in 2011, and has attended Green Gulch January intensive practice .In 2018 she served as head monk (shuso) for our spring practice period. And in 2019, Eishin received dharma transmission from Taigen. 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
Rev. Gyoshin Laurel Ross is currently Assistant Tenzo (Kitchen Manager) and Practice Leader. She was formerly Ino (Meditation Hall Supervisor), Assistant Director, and Board Member 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. Laurel is available for Zen practice discussion. Her other interests include Yang style Tai Chi, world music singing, bird watching, and native plant gardening.
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, served as head monk (shuso) for the 2016 spring practice period, and is available for Zen practice discussion. 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.