Our Teachers

Zen Master Seung Sahn

The founding teacher of our School is Zen Master Seung Sahn, the 78th Patriarch in his line of transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism. In 1972 he came to the United States and started the Providence Zen Center, the first center in what is now the Kwan Um School. He and his students have founded over a hundred temples, centers, and groups around the world.

His books include Ten Gates, The Compass of Zen, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, Only Don’t Know, The Whole World is a SingleFlower – 365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life, and Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake.

Zen Master Seung Sahn has given transmission to Zen Masters and “inka” – teaching authority – to senior students called Ji Do Poep Sa Nims (Dharma Masters).

Full Biography of Zen Master Seung Sahn

Zen Master Soeng Hyang

Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) is the School Zen Master and Guiding Dharma Teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen. She received dharma transmission from Zen Master Seung Sahn on October 10, 1992. She was one of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s first American students and studied with him since 1972. She was given inka in 1977. She helped found Providence Zen Center, and lived there for seventeen years, serving in a number of administrative capacities. She also initiated Providence Zen Center’s ongoing series of Christian-Buddhist gatherings.

Zen Master Soeng Hyang has a daughter and lives with her partner, Mary, in California. A registered nurse since 1969, she works in the hospice care industry.

Full Biography of Zen Master Soeng Hyang

Abbot Mark Garrett

Mark Garrett is the Abbot of the Ten Directions Zen Community. He started practicing with Ten Directions in April 2001 and took the Five Precepts in November 2003. Mark went on to take his Ten Precepts and began his Dharma Teacher Training in November 2006. He then became a Dharma Teacher in November 2009. Mark was head Dharma Teacher at the 90-day Kyol Che in 2012, and has sat many retreats throughout the Midwest and at Providence over the years.

Mark is married to Linda and has two grown children, Matthew and Christina as well as Banshee, their tortoise-shell cat.