Elihu Genmyo Smith, Roshi - Guiding Teacher

Genmyo Elihu Genmyo Smith began his Zen training in 1974 at the Zen Studies Society in New York with Soen Nakagawa Roshi and Eido Shimano Roshi. He continued his training at Zen Center of Los Angeles, where he was ordained by Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi in 1979. After completing formal koan study with Maezumi Roshi in 1984 he continued his training with Charlotte Joko Beck at Zen Center of San Diego. Genmyo received Dharma transmission (shiho) and authorization to teach from Joko in 1992 and Inka from Seisen Roshi in the White Plumb lineage. He currently lives in California and periodically travels to Illinois to lead sesshin at PZC. Genmyo is a co-founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School and is the author of "Ordinary Life, Wondrous Life" which is published by the Prairie Zen Center and "Everything is the Way: Ordinary Mind Zen" published by Shambhala.

Ed Mushin Russell - Resident Teacher

Ed Mushin Russell began formal Zen training with Genmyo in 1999. After taking the precepts (jukai), serving as Genmyo's attendant for 8 years and completing koan study, he recieved Dharma transmission (shiho) and became Genmyo's Dharma heir in 2015. In addition to being the resident teacher at Prairie Zen Center, Mushin also manages the online functions including the web site, email communications and Zoom connectivity.


Jim Shojo Zivic - Resident Priest

ShojoJim Shojo Zivic began Zen training at the San Francisco Zen Center where he received lay ordination in 1980. He later practiced at the Berkeley Zen Center and the Berkeley Buddhist Priory (Order of Buddhist Contemplatives). Shojo moved to the Midwest and became a student of Genmyo in 2003. He was ordained as a priest by Genmyo in 2016 and lives at Prairie Zen Center.

Heidi Myoon Von Gunden - Priest

MyoonHeidi Myoon Von Gunden began Zen practice in 1973 with Maezumi Roshi in Los Angeles after having been a Catholic nun for ten years. She later studied at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Chicago with Kongo Roshi who officiated at her jukai. She became Joko Beck's student in 1986 at the Zen Center of San Diego. After moving to Champaign, where she was a professor of music composition/theory, she was instrumental in the founding of the Prairie Zen Center. Heidi was ordained a priest in 2019 by Elihu Genmyo Smith.