Guiding Teacher Rev. Konin Cardenas began the practice of Zen in 1987, and was ordained into the Soto Zen tradition by Sekkei Harada Roshi in 2007. She has lived and trained at Hosshinji senmon sodo in Japan, at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, and at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center. Konin is a Dharma Heir in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, having received transmission from Rev. Shosan Victoria Austin. For several years Konin has been leading Spanish-language Zen practice. She has an interest in chaplaincy, cultural awareness and inclusion. Konin is a long-time practitioner of yoga, a student of calligraphy, and happy to be a mother.
Rev. Mushin Deb Wood was one of Jion Postal's most longstanding students, beginning their steady practice together in 1982. She has supported the growth of the sangha through the following three decades and was priest ordained by Jion in 2010. Deb supervises the physical maintenance of the Zen Center.
Practice at Empty Hand is informed and inspired by the teaching and example of our deceased Founding Teacher, Jion Susan Postal. Susan entered Buddhist practice in 1970. Originally practicing in the Dzogchen tradition, she began Zen studies at the Zen Community of New York in 1980. In 1987, she continued under the guidance of Maurine Myo-on Stuart and was ordained by her as Zen Priest in 1988. In 2000, Susan began practice under the direction of Darlene Cohen and in 2008 received Dharma Transmission from Darlene in the Soto Lineage of Suzuki-roshi. After leading Zen practice for decades while living with chronic illness, Susan passed from this life on February 7, 2014. Click HERE for an interview with Jion Susan Postal.
The overall administrative needs of the Center are overseen by the Empty Hand Zen Center Board of Directors. The current members of the Board are:
- Jeff Silver, President and Chairman
- Konin Cardenas
- Christopher Dee
- Elena Falcone
- Frank Raddock
- Deb Wood
Myozan Dennis Keegan, former head priest and teacher, began formal Zen practice at the Zen Studies Society in 1979. He practiced there as well as with members and teachers of Thich Nhat Hanh's Order of Interbeing and the Insight Meditation Society before working with Jion Susan Postal in 1999 at the Empty Hand Zendo in Rye, New York. In 2002, he was ordained by Jion Postal in the tradition of Maurine Stuart and re-ordained by her in the Soto Zen Buddhist lineage of Shogaku Shunryu Suzuku-roshi in 2008 with the assistance of Dairyu Michael Wenger from San Francisco Zen Center. He served as Head Student for the 2005 Practice Period and received Dharma Transmission in the Suzuki lineage in 2010. Following the death of Jion Postal in February, 2014, Dennis was appointed Head Priest and Teacher by the Empty Hand Zen Center (EHZC) Board of Directors.
In the past as senior priest at EHZC, he led a Dogen Study Group, hosted monthly Friday Film Nights, and co-led Retreats and Sesshin. He also served on the EHZC Board of Directors as Treasurer of the Corporation.
In addition to being a formal disciple of Jion, Dennis has had the opportunity to practicer under the direction of Jion's Teacher, Darlene Cohen, and Dairyu Michael Wenger, Shodo Harada-roshi, Nonin Chowaney, and Kyoki Roberts; to each of whom he is deeply and continually grateful.
Dennis's teaching reflects his deep and abiding nourishment from the Dharma found in the early Buddhist texts (the Nikayas and Agamas), the Buddhist philosophy of the Madhyamaka and the teaching of the Zen ancestors, particularly that of Dogen Zenji and Master Zhaozhou.
With degrees in mathematics, Dennis enjoyed careers in teaching and later in quantitative analysis for both healthcare and financial institutions before retiring to lead Zen practice for the Moon Water Sangha in New Jersey and to co-lead practice with Jion Postal at the Empty Hand Zen Center. He and his wife currently live in New Jersey.