Joan Sutherland, Roshi
Joan Sutherland, Roshi, is the founder of Awakened Life. She is deeply involved in re-imagining the koan tradition and exploring its relationship to creativity, and she also integrates mythopoetics and contemporary mind and consciousness discoveries with meditation. She holds frequent koan and meditation retreats, and her work appears regularly in
Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma.
She lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and is the holding teacher for The Open Source, a network of communities in the western United States. She is also one of the founders of the Pacific Zen School, an innovative contemporary koan school.
She is also a writer, and a translator from Chinese and Japanese. She is currently working on a philosophical memoir and collaborating with John Tarrant on a new translation of three major koan collections. Before becoming a Zen teacher, she worked as a scholar and teacher in the field of archaeomythology, and for nonprofit organizations in the feminist antiviolence and environmental movements.
David Weinstein, Roshi
David is lead teacher at the Pacific Zen Institute’s Oakland Zendo and San Jose Sitting Group. He is also a visiting teacher at the Springs Mountain Sangha, in Colorado Springs. David lives in Oakland with his wife, where he is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction and spirituality. His teaching emphasizes ways of discovering true Zen practice in the midst of ordinary life. He is especially interested helping people cultivate an appreciation of koan practice as a way of recognizing our lives as works of art.
Sarah Bender, Sensei
Sarah, our resident teacher, began Zen practice with the Honolulu Diamond Sangha in 1979 and has studied with Joan Sutherland, Roshi, and David Weinstein, Roshi, since 1997. From 2001 to 2006 she served as the meditation instructor for SMS, and in 2006 she received authorization to teach from Joan Sutherland, Roshi, becoming a sensei with Sutherland Roshi’s Open Source and our first resident teacher. Sarah is also the Cadet Chapel Buddhist Program Leader for the United States Air Force Academy, and she leads occasional retreats for the Wet Mountain Sangha, in Pueblo.
A learning disability specialist in private practice in Colorado Springs, Sarah has two children, Joe and Laura, who live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Hangzhou, China.
As part of her leadership with Springs Mountain Sangha, Sarah gives talks, leads classes and retreats, and works with individual Zen students. She works closely with Joan Sutherland in the ongoing development of our sangha’s practice. She loves collaborating with others on this path of awakening, to use and forge tools for living lives of kindness and joy.
Andrew Palmer, Sensei
Andrew Palmer, Sensei, began practicing with Springs Mountain Sangha in 1999, studying with Joan Sutherland, Roshi, David Weinstein, Roshi and Sarah Bender, Sensei. He was named a meditation instructor in 2007 and was authorized to teach by Joan Sutherland in February 2011. He looks forward to continuing to develop our Way while having the opportunity to work more closely with others, individually and in retreat settings, as he travels and teaches throughout The Open Source network. Andrew's love of koans and affinity for the ancestors combines with an everyday, ordinary-mind-is-the-way approach to practice, where awakening is always readily at hand. He grew up in the Pikes Peak region, currently lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and son.