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Our Mission

The mission of the Bozeman Zen Group is to support the practice of Zen Buddhism.

A group of lay and ordained practitioners, we come together to encourage and inspire each other to be mindful and compassionate in our everyday lives. We provide regular opportunities for Zen practice and education in Southwestern Montana.

We are open to all who are interested in Zen and even those curious about basic Buddhist practice.

We are currently affiliated with Branching Streams, an organization of sanghas in the Soto Zen lineage of Suzuki Roshi and the San Francisco Zen Center. Several of our members work with Zen teachers of other lineages. We are one of the resident sanghas at the Bozeman Dharma Center. All are welcome!

BZG Founder Wendy Roberts
Shu To Wa Yu, Lamp of Practice, Peaceful and Brave
Ordained BZG priests
  • Karen DeCotis, Shinsen Gyokuko, Deep Spring, Radiant Jewel
  • Joseph Gastón, Seitoku Shinkon, Quiet Virtue Sincere Determination
  • Michãel Palmer Kisen Hoshin, Radiant Spring Dharma Heart

Our History

Senior Dharma Teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson, of the San Francisco Zen Center, led a retreat in Bozeman in February 1999.

Wendy Roberts founded the Bozeman Zen Group with the intention of creating an on-going and welcoming Zen sangha. She began formal Zen practice in 1991, attended a Practice Period at Green Gulch Zen Center in 1998, and received lay ordination. In 1999 she invited her teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson, to lead a Zen retreat in Bozeman. Following the retreat, a group of interested people began regular sitting practice in her basement. Tenshin Anderson taught consistently in Bozeman for 10 years, significantly contributing to establishing and growing our sangha.

We were pleased to be joined in 2002 by Karen DeCotis who moved to Montana and previously had been Ino (Zendo manager) of the Berkeley Zen Center. Karen was entrusted as a lay teacher in 2003, received priest ordination in 2016, and Dharma Transmission (Shiho) in 2019 from her teacher Sojun Mel Weitsman. Karen has recently offered Jukai (lay precepts/ordination) to four members with Sojun Roshi and to five on her own as well as priest ordination (2023) in Bozeman.

In 2013 the Bozeman Zen Group joined with local Insight and Tibetan sanghas to form the Bozeman Dharma Center.

We are happy to be a member of this vibrant organization, which in addition to providing a beautiful meeting space, offers classes, retreats and resources beyond a single sangha’s capabilities.

Our sangha continues to honor the Soto tradition while accommodating lay practice. Over the years our many offerings have included formal sitting practice, retreats, practice periods, ceremonies, half and full day sittings, visiting teacher retreats, and more. We appreciate the participation in Bozeman especially of Tenshin Reb Anderson, Sojun Mel Weitsman, and Gyokujun Layla Smith; whose wisdom and generosity towards our sangha immeasurably strengthened our sangha.

Having emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bozeman Zen Group now offers programs in-person and via Zoom, and events that combine both modes of practice. We are able to come together in person to best experience the joys of sangha practice, but also accommodate our far-flung members. Karen DeCotis firmly holds for the sangha the twin aims of formal temple practice along with lay life.

Our Current Teacher

Karen DeCotis is a Zen student and teacher who received priest ordination from Sojun Mel Weitsamn in the Soto Lineage in 2016 and Dharma transmission in 2019.

She has taught the Bozeman Zen Group for 18 years, having practiced at the Berkeley Zen Center and San Francisco Zen Center beginning in 1986. Devoted to service and engaged learning, Karen brings knowledge of and experience with the Buddhist traditions along with a clear-eyed view of human life, suffering and transformation.

She is known for her humor and warmth, bringing her intelligence, wit and humility to every teaching opportunity.

2023 Board of Directors

Travis Burdick – President

Margaret Kachadurian – Vice President

Kerry Neal – Secretary/Treasurer

Brody Johnson – Member at large

Members of the Board will have:

  • A steady meditation practice.
  • A  commitment to the Bozeman Zen Group shown by attending sangha events.
  • Availability and willingness to attend four quarterly meetings per year for two years (currently held on Zoom).
  • Ability to work in harmony with others for the greater good of the BZG.
  • Willingness to participate on certain committees of the Board if needed.