Gary Enns, Director and President

Image: Gary Enns at Ablin House
Gary Enns at Ablin House
One of the founding members of the Zen Fellowship, Gary Enns began practicing Zen in 2011 under the guidance of Richard Collins Roshi. In 2012 at the New Orleans Zen Temple he received bodhisattva ordination from Robert Livingston Roshi, Collins’ longtime teacher and a close disciple of Master Taisen Deshimaru. In 2016 at the Temple, Enns received monastic ordination from Collins.

Enns holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His writing has appeared in literary and contemplative journals such as Granta, Crazyhorse, Sweeping Zen, Southern Humanities Review, and The Wayfarer: A Journal of Contemplative Literature. In 2015 he wrote the glossary for Collins’ latest book, No Fear Zen. Currently, he co-edits and contributes articles and poems to Here and Now: the Newsletter of the American Zen Association.

Professor of English at Cerro Coso Community College and Adjunct Lecturer at California State University, Bakersfield, Enns teaches literature, composition, and creative writing. In addition to leading practice at the Dustbowl Dojo, he enjoys sitting with interested students during his weekly zazen sessions on campus.
Enns lives in Bakersfield, California with his wife Cortnie and three children.

Richard Collins Roshi, Founder

Richard Collins at Ablin House, Bakersfield
Photo by Cortnie Enns
Richard Collins Roshi undertook his Zen training at the New Orleans Zen Temple, where he received bodhisattva ordination in 2001, monastic ordination in 2010, permission to teach in 2012, and shiho (dharma transmission) in 2016, all from Robert Livingston Roshi.

Born in Eugene, Oregon, Richard grew up in Southern California, earning degrees in literature from the University of Oregon (BA) and the University of California, Irvine (MA and PhD). He has held a Fulbright-Hays fellowship to London, an NEH fellowship to Columbia University, and a Leverhulme Commonwealth/USA fellowship in American Studies at Swansea University in Wales. He taught for five years in Eastern Europe as a Fulbright lecturer at the Universities of Bucharest and Timisoara in Romania and at the American University in Bulgaria. As RosaMary Endowed Professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana, he edited the Xavier Review for several years.

Dean Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Bakersfield (2010-2016), Richard is currently Chief Academic Officer for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA).

He has edited AZA books by M. C. Dalley and Philippe Coupey, as well as Taisen Deshimaru’s Mushotoku Mind: The Heart of the Heart Sutra (Hohm Press, 2012). He has also published articles on Charles Johnson’s novel Oxherding Tale (Religion and the Arts) and Kim Ki-Duk’s film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring (New Orleans Review). He has been on the book review staff for the website sweepingzen.com. His most recent book is No Fear Zen: Discovering Balance in an Unbalanced World (Hohm Press, 2015).

Richard founded the Zen Fellowship of Alexandria in 2007, now led by Robert Savage, and the Zen Fellowship of Bakersfield in 2010, now led by Gary Enns. He is abbot of the New Orleans Zen Temple and successor to its founder, Robert Livingston Roshi (retired).

Robert Livingston Roshi

Image: Robert Livingstron Roshi Teaching in His Garden
Robert Livingstron Roshi Teaching in His Garden
Robert Livingston was born in New York City January 28, 1933. He grew up in New York, California and Texas, and graduated from Cornell University, where he studied philosophy and was on the crew team. He spent two years in Japan and Korea in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, and studied and traveled in Europe after his Army discharge. After three years as a registered representative of the New York Stock Exchange, he returned to Europe where he was head of an international financial services corporation for ten years. He then retired from the business world and began practicing Zen with Master Taisen Deshimaru in Paris.

He became a close disciple of Deshimaru, who gave him monastic ordination and made Livingston a Zen teacher. Before his death in 1982, Deshimaru asked him to go to America and open a Zen dojo and teach true Zen practice in the United States. Livingston Roshi founded the American Zen Association and established the New Orleans Zen Temple in 1983, which opened its current site at 748 Camp Street in the Arts District of New Orleans in 1992. He gave shiho (dharma transmission) to Tony Bland of the Starkville Zen Dojo, Mississippi in 2004 and to Richard Collins of the Zen Fellowship of Bakersfield in 2016.

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