Spiritual Leadership

Rev. JiZan Mushin Deb Wood

Rev. JiZan Mushin Deb Wood

Rev. JiZan 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.

JiZan Mushin Deb has been, and continues to be, a steady, stable guiding force and remarkable example of clear practice for the Empty Hand Zen sangha.

Administrative Leadership

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:

  • Deb JiZan Mushin Wood, Priest

  • Bruce Demaree, Chairman

  • Paula Borsody, President

  • Deborah Silver, Secretary

  • Dustin Paul Richard, Treasurer

  • Hillary Volper

  • Alexandra Enderle Kinney

  • Oscar Sandoval

      Founding Teacher  &  Dharma Heir                                                                                               

Jion Susan Postal

Jion Susan Postal

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.

Myozan Dennis Keegan

Myozan Dennis Keegan

Myozan Dennis Keegan, former head priest and teacher, passed from this life on July 19, 2016. Myozan 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.  While co-leading practice with Jion Postal at the Empty Hand Zen Center, he also lead Zen practice for the Moon Water Sangha in New Jersey, where he lived with his wife.  In addition to being a formal disciple of Jion, Dennis had the opportunity to practice 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 was eternally grateful. 

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. He also served on the EHZC Board of Directors as Treasurer of the Corporation.

Dennis's teaching reflected 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.

Former Guiding Teacher

Former Guiding Teacher  November 2017 - March 2019  Kaku Robert Gunn

Former Guiding Teacher

November 2017 - March 2019

Kaku Robert Gunn

We were fortunate to have had the direction of the Rev. Robert Kaku Gunn, Hoshi, as our Guiding Teacher, for this period of time. He exemplified practice with warmth, humility and skill. His clarity shined through his Dharma talks, Dokusan, and in informal encounters.

Hoshi KaKu leads a Zen sitting group in the Community Church of Syosset.He first received the precpts from John Daido Loori in 1993. He Joined the Village Zendo in 2001, and was ordained as a Soto Zen priest by Enkyo Roshi in 2012.The name KaKu means “Song of Emptiness”. 

KaKu is also a United Church of Christ pastor, and a psychotherapist in NYC.  He is active in Buddhist / Christian Dialogue, and is the author of the book “Journeys Into Emptiness: Dogen, Merton and Jung and the Quest for Transformation”. He serves as adjunct faculty at Union Theological Seminary and the New York Theological Seminary. KaKu’s website is www.deepjourneys.net


Former Guiding Teacher

Former Guiding Teacher  Aug. 2015 to Aug. 2017  Rev. Konin Cardenas

Former Guiding Teacher

Aug. 2015 to Aug. 2017

Rev. Konin Cardenas

Former 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.