Our mission statement: To provide a welcoming place and a nourishing community for the study and practice of Zen Buddhism.

The Puget Sound Zen Center is a community dedicated to practicing Zen, to teaching and living Buddhist principles, to supporting a vibrant sangha, and to serving our wider community.  Located on Vashon Island, the center is part of the life of the island while serving the wider Puget Sound area.  Our community is open to all regardless of age, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation.

We hold practice a few times a week and schedule a number of retreats annually.  We also offer family programs, dharma study classes, discussion groups, community service opportunities, and a precepts program.  We are members of the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness and the Northwest Dharma Association.  

Some at the Zen Center have been practicing Zen or other forms of meditations for decades and some are just starting out.  Some attend services with other spiritual communities in addition to Zen.  Wherever you are in your spiritual practice you are welcome here.  




Koshin Christopher Cain

10863124536_498e162398_oKoshin Christopher Cain is Abbot of the Puget Sound Zen Center. Koshin was born in 1965 and grew up in London, England, and Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a BA in American Studies in 1987. In 1990 he moved to Mt. Baldy Zen Center in California, he ordained in 1991, and trained at Mt. Baldy as a monk from 1991 to 1999. In 1999 Joshu Roshi made him an Osho, or teacher. From 1999 to 2002 he served as Vice-abbot of Mt. Baldy Zen Center. In 2003 he moved to Vashon Island and became the founding teacher of the Puget Sound Zen Center. Since 2009, Koshin has been the formal teacher of the Rinzai Zen Center in Oslo. He is responsible for the direction of the Zen practice there, and visits the center twice a year. Koshin is married to Soshin Lidunn Cain, and they have a son, Lars, born in 2001, and daughter Eva, born in 2004. An interview with Koshin was published in “Sweeping Zen” in July 2012. To read it, click here

PSZC’s Teacher Ethics statement can be found here.


Board of Directors

The Board of Directors works with the Abbot, Committees, and the sangha to create an overall vision and goals for the Zen Center, and oversees the carrying out of these goals.

To contact the entire board, email board@pszc.org
Berneta Walraven, President

Berneta has been a Zen Center member for about 5 years. She and her partner, Sheila, have lived on Vashon for 19 years. They moved here from Boston, wanting to escape snow and find a more manageable work/life balance.  Having spent most of her career as a lawyer working on civil rights issues, she now works for King County and volunteers with Honoring Choices Vashon, a group that strives to make death awareness more a part of everyday life. Berneta really likes bingo, thinks pit bulls get a bad rap and wishes she had become a professional surfer.

 Dianne Sweetman, Treasurer


Jim Hunziker, Member at Large
Although relatively new to Zen, Jim Hunziker jumped into the PSZC with both feet running.  He comes with a wealth of knowledge to offer our sangha, bringing the experience from being president of a non-profit that funds girls schools in rural Afghanistan and the local Honor Society of Nursing, as well as (over the years) positions in various nursing organizations.  He is a semi-retired Nurse Practitioner.

Karen Hedlund, Member at Large
Karen moved, with her husband Ted and their two children, from San Francisco to Vashon in 2006. She now works for Tacoma Public Utilities in the (hydro) Generation department as an electrical engineer. Outside of work, Karen’s interests include small scale renewable energy projects, noxious weed removal, soil health, hiking and working in the forest. Karen walked into the Zen Center in 2015, looking to learn how to meditate and found the Center had a whole lot more to offer.

Lynda Fitzpatrick, Secretary
Lynda was born with her mind made up and is now learning by example, through the sangha, to be more curious. Lynda grew up in Southern California where she attended the local Self Realization Fellowship meditation center. Moving to Israel, England and New Zealand she dabbled (it must be said) with various ‘brands’ of meditation. Arriving at the Puget Sound Zen Center in 2010 she found a community that was warm and accepting and solid. She joined the Board to dive in.

Wes Borden, Member at Large


A copy of our bylaws can be found here.

In February 2014 the Board announced its decision to end PSZC’s affiliation with Rinzai-ji, Inc. A copy of the letter announcing that decision can be found here



Children’s Program Committee
The Children’s Committee develops and maintains programs that help children find calm and pay attention to one’s interior world and surroundings, gives families a framework that helps make sense of the world, gives children an alternative social group, provides a live long community for families, and gives resources to parents and caretakers such as games, guided meditations and songs. Email kids@pszc.org to contact the committee.

Chair: Genko Kathy Blackman (2018 – 2020)
Diane Sweetman
Jean Berolzheimer
Joyce Hunziker
William Leslie

Communications Committee
The Communications Committee publicizes the events and activities of PSZC with the goal of reaching as many potential stakeholders and attendees as possible. It manages the website, print communication, ads and flyers. We are always looking for volunteers! Email pr@pszc.org to contact the committee.

Chair: Lynda Fitzpatrick (2018 – 2020)
Beverly Miller
Elizabeth Fitterer
Eric Horisting


Ethics Committee
The purpose of the Ethics Committee is to ensure the ethical conduct of members and teachers in all programs and activities.  It is on-call to address any ethical issues that may arise for the sangha, and to provide a yearly ethics review. Email ethics@pszc.org to contact the committee with an ethical concern or issue, or for more information. The ethics committee charter is here, and the teacher ethics policy and process document is here.

The Board and Ethics Committee voted in October 2016 to enact a Grievance and Reconciliation Policy for sangha members. It can be found here.

Carol Spangler
David Steel
Susan Traff


Fundraising Committee
The Fundraising Committee raises funds to supplement PSZC’s income and meet the annual budget.

Chair: Wes Borden (2018 – 2020)
Berneta Walraven
Claire Newman
Elizabeth Nelson
Sissel Johannessen


Membership Committee
The Membership Committee strives to encourage individuals who are interested in the work, practice and activities of PSZC to become dues paying members. Email membership@pszc.org to contact the committee.

Chair: Elizabeth Nelson (2018 – 2020)
Claire Newman
Diane Sweetman
Sharon Shaver


Property Committee
The Property Committee ensures that 1) the Zendo is a warm and functioning space; and 2) the land is in a state of good maintenance and usable for sangha activities. Anyone is welcome at our meetings. Email property@pszc.org to contact the committee.

Co-Chairs: Elizabeth Fitterer and Jim Hunziker (2018 – 2020)
David Steel
Eric Horsting
John Stott
Lidunn Cain
Marcus Berg


Programs Committee
The Programs Committee is responsible for developing the annual program calendar and subsequent monthly schedule of events and activities. Anyone is welcome at our meetings, and ideas for new Zen Center programs are always welcome anytime. Email programs@pszc.org to contact the committee.

Co-Chairs: Susan Traff and Karen Hedlund (2016 – 2019)
Rachael Osborn
Sissel Johannessen
Susan Rogers
Wes Borden