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Our Teachers

Bobby Kankin Byrd Roshi
1942 - 2022

Rev. Bobby Kankin Byrd Roshi was the founder and much loved guiding teacher of Both Sides / No Sides Zen Sangha. He was a student of, was ordained by and received Dharma Transmission from Harvey Daiho Hilbert Roshi, founder of the Order of Clear Mind Zen. He also did koan study with Robert Chodo Campbell Sensei of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Bobby was an internationally respected poet with a number of books published.  With his wife, novelist Lee Merrill Byrd, he was a co-founder of Cinco Puntos Press, a prize-winning publisher of children's, young adult and adult books that reflect and celebrate the diversity of our region, country and planet.


Joe Gakudo Biernacki

Rev. Joe Gakudo Biernacki, the Abbot and Guiding Teacher of the El Paso Zen Center, was a student of the late Bobby Kankin Byrd Roshi.  He was ordained by and is a student of Kathryn Shukke Hilbert Roshi, the Abbot of the Order of Clear Mind Zen.  Joe has spent a lifetime pursuing the "great matter," beginning as a Catholic seminarian in the late '60's.  Having recently retired as a tech company executive, Joe continues formal study of Soto Zen Buddhism at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, a member institution of the Graduate Theological Union.

Paul Maitra Shurro Schroder

Rev. Paul Maitra Shurro Schroder is a student of, and was ordained by Michael Gozen LaTorra of the Order of Clear Mind Zen and is a student of Konrad Ryushin Marchaj.  Paul began his spiritual training in the Christian tradition before coming to Zen, and was ordained as a Pastor at age 20.  After completing theological training, he spent four years as a missionary in Hungary.  His work was focused on developing local churches and orphanages.  He currently owns and operates one of the largest Kung Fu schools in the country, and views martial arts training as a powerful vehicle for self-understanding and transformation.

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Veronica Roshin Schroder

Rev. Veronica Roshin Schroder is a Martial Arts Professional specializing in teaching and instructing children. She and her husband are the founders and owners of El Paso Kung Fu. She found her way to Zen meditation 15 years ago, which gradually inspired her to follow her passion for the help professions. Having completed the Foundations Program in Contemplative Care at the New York Zen Center, Veronica is currently a student at New York Theological Seminary pursuing her Masters and a career in chaplaincy.  She also studies with Konrad Ryushin Marchaj.  Her passion is finding ways to deeply listen to those in suffering and help them find meaning.

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Eternity Ein-Shingetsu Wauls

Rev. Eternity Ein-Shingetsu Wauls was ordained a Zen Buddhist Priest in the Order of Clear Mind Zen by Rev. Paul Maitra Shurro Schroder on December 11, 2022.  As a retiree, she brings with her a diverse and eclectic body of education and work experiences from the fields of education, the Christian tradition (ordained as a minister & chaplain), the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition (Kagyu), and a variety of other spiritual practices including more than twelve years as a yoga practitioner.  Ein-Shingetsu is a student of Paul Maitra Shurro Schroder.

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