Bruce Seiryu Blackman is a Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage and the Zen Peacemakers Sangha. He began meditation practice in 1981, and studied 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 he became a student of Sr Janet Richardson-roshi and joined ZCB/Clare Sangha. Named a dharma holder in 2001, Bruce was authorized to teach in 2004. He is the guiding teacher with Clare Sangha; a lay preceptor for transmitting the Bodhisattva precepts; and a storyteller in the koan tradition. Stories that correspond help reduce the gravity and lighten us up, Sensei says of their value in Zen training. He has compiled a story collection of “People in a Pinch,” and wrote an article in Pearls of Ash and Awe (2015) on bearing witness at Auschwitz. His dharma name is Seiryu (“clear stream”).
Bruce worked 25 years in East Asia and Latin America, specializing in economic program development. A Spanish speaker, he received his BA from the University of Oregon, and master's degrees from UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University. Since work overseas, he transports special needs children to school, and volunteers with a restorative justice agency – mentoring and teaching emotional awareness to inmates. Sensei was also elected to the board of an international adoption agency. He and his wife Joan reside in Northern Virginia.
Anthony Hoetsu Falcone began meditation practice in 1983. He studied with Bernie Glassman-roshi at the Greyston Bakery in New York and developed an interest in service. He later joined ZCB/Clare Sangha, studying with founders Janet Richardson-roshi and Rosalie McQuaide-sensei until 2005. He then took up training with Bruce Blackman-sensei, receiving the Bodhisattva precepts and becoming an assistant teacher. For three years, Anthony worked in Colorado where he studied with Roshis Gerry Wick and Ilia Perez. He continued study with Blackman-sensei and Barbara Craig-sensei, receiving transmission in 2016. His dharma name is Hoetsu (“dharma joy”).
Anthony serves on the board of directors of ZCB/Clare Sangha, currently as president. He completed Thich Nhat Hanh's Five Mindfulness Trainings. He also completed Companioning the Dying hospice training with Senseis Rose Mary Dougherty and William Dietrich, and now volunteers hospice care in Baltimore. Anthony received a BS in Biological Sciences and a Masters of Computer Science. He works in computer programming and information technology. He holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.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."