The Very Venerable T.T. Thích Minh Nhat first found a spiritual home in Buddhism in 1983, when he took a course at the International Meditation Center in Los Angeles. In 1985, he took refuge, receiving the name Nagacitta Karuna. In 1992, Rev. Nagacitta was ordained as a Sramanera and then, in 1994, was fully ordained in the Vietnamese Rinzai Lam Te Zen tradition and given the name of Thích Tâm Hue. He trained intensively under Ven. Ân Giáo Roshi, Abbot of the Desert Zen Center in Lucerne Valley CA, from whom he also received Soto Zen ordination in the lineage of Rev. Soyu Matsuoka Roshi. In July of 2010, Ven. Tâm Hue was transmitted the Dharma Mind Seal by the Most Venerable Thích Ân Giáo Roshi, and was given the title of Great Master under the name Thích Minh Nhat. Inspired by Thích Nhat Hanh and Roshi Glassman, he founded the Strawberry Dragon Zendo with a primary focus on chaplaincy to the incarcerated, working with Zen Center of Los Angeles’s Angulimala Prison Project.
Sensei Koan Janka began his Zen Practice at ZCLA in March of 1973 as a result of a talk given at U.C. Santa Barbara by Sensei Daishin Buksbazen. He received Jukai in August of 1982 from Maezumi, Roshi and received Tokudo from Egyoku Nakao, Roshi in November, 1998, and moved to the Center as a full-time resident in order to intensify his practice and studies with Egyoku Roshi in 2003. He received Denkai in July of 2006 and became a Dharma Holder (Hoshi) in August of the same year. On the 16th of October, 2010, he received Dharma Transmission (Denbo) from Egyoku Roshi at ZCLA. Koan received his bachelor’s 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 becoming a resident at the Zen Center, Koan had a full, 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.
Koan is very involved with the prison work of the Boundless Mind Sangha, serving as a Buddhist Chaplain at three state prisons. Finally, in his spare time, Koan likes to plant and care for trees, mostly in the public domain. He serves as a Volunteer Forester for the Santa Barbara City Parks Department, and he also plants and maintains street trees in the neighborhood around the Center and his home in Santa Barbara.