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Finding Your Seat


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Sensei Amala Wrightson is the resident teacher and Spiritual Director of the Auckland Zen Centre. She began practicing Zen in 1982 after she and her husband, Richard von Sturmer, attended a workshop with Philip Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen. In the late 80s she and Richard left New Zealand and their work in experimental theatre to pursue residential Zen training at the Rochester (NY) Zen Center (the centre founded by Kapleau), as no similar training was then available in New Zealand. Working in Rochester with Kapleau's successor, Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, Wrightson was ordained as a Zen priest in 1999 and authorised to teach Zen in 2004. She then returned to Auckland with the intention to make available in New Zealand the training she had received, and was sanctioned as a full Dharma Heir of Roshi Kjolhede in 2012. Sensei Wrightson has offered meditation instruction, talks on Zen, and opportunities for practice and retreat both at the Centre and at other locations around New Zealand for the past fifteen years. She was a founding member of the New Zealand Buddhist Council as well as its chairperson for a decade, and she is a member of the American Zen Teachers' Association. Kathryn Argetsinger began studying Zen under Sensei Wrightson in 2001 and has been her student since that time, completing several years of residential Zen training and assisting in Auckland with the administration of the Centre as well as with meditation workshops and retreats. She is ordained as a lay member of the Three Jewels Order and currently leads sitting groups in Western Massachusetts (USA). Prior to taking up full-time training, Kathryn taught Classics for many years at the University of Rochester (NY), and first met Sensei Wrightson at the Rochester Zen Center. Richard von Sturmer is a New Zealand writer and longtime Zen practitioner. Together with Sensei Amala Wrightson he founded the Auckland Zen Centre.

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