Bruce Seiryu Blackman is a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage established by the late Taizan Maezumi-roshi. He began meditation practice in 1981, and went on to train several years in Southeast Asia with Sr Elaine MacInnes-roshi of the Sanbo Kyodan, and later with the Diamond Sangha of Robert Aitken-roshi. In 1996 Bruce became a student of Sr Janet Richardson-roshi and joined ZCB/Clare Sangha. He was named a dharma holder in 2001 and received transmission from Richardson-roshi in 2004, after 23 years of Zen training. He is the spiritual director of Clare Sangha and a storyteller in the koan tradition. Stories that correspond help to reduce the gravity and lighten us up, Sensei says of their value in Zen training. His dharma name is Seiryu (“clear stream”).
Bruce worked 25 years in East Asia, Latin America, and the senior foreign service, specializing in economic program development. Fluent in Spanish, he received master's degrees from UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. Since 1995, he transports special needs children to school, and volunteers with a restorative justice agency – on the board and in the jails teaching emotional awareness and yoga/meditation to inmates. Bruce was also elected to the board of an international adoption agency. He and his wife, Joan, reside in Northern Virginia.Janet Jinne Richardson, Roshi, co-founder of ZCB/Clare Sangha, moved to Florida in 2005, and now serves as an Elder in both the Clare and Zen Peacemaker Sanghas. She studied with Roshi Bernard Tetsugen Glassman. In 1994, she was named Sensei, receiving transmission from her teacher, Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy, SJ. In 1997, she received inka from Zen Master Glassman and was installed as Roshi (venerable teacher) in the White Plum Asangha. Roshi's dharma name is Jinne ("beloved of God").
Janet's life experiences are in social work, education, the United Nations, and international development. She is a translator and member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (CSJP), an international congregation of Catholic women committed to peace through justice.
She tells the story of a Christian who came to the Zen Master expressing apprehension about taking up Zen studies. The Master promised that Zen studies would make this student a better Christian, and help empty her as St. Paul said that Jesus was empty. She found this promise encouraging and affirming, and that its proof in experience continues motivating Christians to pursue Zen studies with vigor and satisfaction.
Called forth by Roshi Glassman, Rosalie Jishin McQuaide, Sensei, co-founder of ZCB/Clare Sangha, moved to Florida in 2005, and now serves as senior advisor to the sangha board. She began her studies with Roshi Kennedy in 1976, continuing with Roshi Richardson and receiving transmission in 1998. Sensei's dharma name is Jishin ("heart of compassion").
A member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace (CSJP), Rosalie and Roshi Richardson initiated and led two years of meditation instruction in a federal prison. Her life experiences in musicology, social activism, and archives preceded her current service as liturgical organist and pianist, composer, and historian-author.
Sensei recounts that, years ago, a group of persons -- curious, interested, wary, eager -- assembled before the teacher for the first time. The teacher made a few comments and then asked each person to answer, "Why are you here?" One person answered in a complete state of unknowing, "Because I want to be here."
"Again and still, sweet flowers blossom in the courtyard of the many-sided house, While in the back, the cypress and the poplar extend their arms in cooling shade."