Santa Barbara Zen Center

Sensei Gary Koan Janka, Head Teacher and Officiating Priest

Sensei Gary Koan JankaInspired by a talk given by Sensei Daishin Buksbazen at UC Santa Barbara, Koan began his Zen Practice at the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) in March 1973. He received Jukai in August 1982 from Taizan Maezumi Roshi and received Tokudo (Priest Ordination) from Egyoku Nakao Roshi in November 1998. In order to intensify his practice and studies with Egyoku Roshi, he moved to the Center as a full-time resident in 2003. He received Denkai in July of 2006 and became a Dharma Holder (Hoshi) in August of the same year. On October 16, 2010, he received Dharma Transmission (Denbo) from Egyoku Roshi at ZCLA. He is a member of the White Plum Asangha, an association of those who are Dharma descendants of Maezumi Roshi within the Soto School of Zen.

Koan received his bachelorís degree in Sociology, specializing in research methodology, in 1974. In 1997 he completed his PhD in Human & Organizational Behavior from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Prior to his residential training at the ZCLA, Koan had a forty-five year career in management and organizational work, both as a mid-level manager and as an organizational consultant. He also served one year as the General Manager of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico and two years as the Executive Director of the Peacemaker Community under Roshi Bernie Glassman.

Family has also figured prominently in his life. Married for many years, he has three sons and two grandchildren. He is now in a relationship with a wonderful woman in Santa Barbara.

Since April 2014, Koan has served as the Head Teacher and Officiating Priest with the Santa Barbara Zen Center. His current plans focus on building the sangha in Santa Barbara and establishing a temple there. Koan is also the President of the Boundless Mind Sangha, a small group of volunteers who serve as Buddhist Chaplains in several California state prisons.

In his spare time, Koan likes to plant and care for trees, primarily in the public domain. He serves as a Volunteer Forester for the Santa Barbara City Parks Department, and he plants and maintains street trees in the neighborhood around the Los Angeles Zen Center.

January 13, 2015