Head Teacher – Anne Seisen Saunders, Roshi

Seisen is the Abbot and head teacher of Sweetwater Zen Center. She has been practicing and teaching Zen Buddhism for nearly 20 years.

Seisen is a student of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi and a Dharma successor of Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi, cofounder of the Greyston Mandala and the Zen Peacemaker Order.

Seisen lived at the Zen Center of Los Angeles for 15 years, and worked on ZCLA’s administrative staff. She served for four years as the co-abbot of Zen Mountain Center, a traditional monastery and practice center in Idyllwild, California.

The founding of SWZC marks Seisen’s return to San Diego. Before coming to Zen practice Seisen attended UC Berkeley and then later went to UCSD, where she worked as a biochemist. Establishing SWZC is the unfolding of her vision for an urban residential Zen practice community.



Guest Teacher – Herb Eko Deer, Sensei

Herb has been a part of the Sweetwater Zen Center since it opened in 2000. He has been sober from drugs and alcohol since 2004 and now includes the 12 steps as part of his teaching. He lives in San Diego with his family and dog.

He also enjoys training in qi-gong and martial arts as part of his spiritual path. He received full transmission as a teacher and priest in 2011 from Seisen Roshi.

Herb’s blog website is zencomprehensible.com, please check it out and feel free to contact him if you have any questions or are interested in visiting the center.





 Assistant Teacher- Ryan Ando Lennon, Temple Holder

Ando is an assistant teacher, zen priest, and resident at Sweetwater Zen Center. Ando has studied at Sweetwater Zen Center under Anne Seisen Saunders, Roshi, since 2003.

He has been a resident at SWZC since 2004. Ando had jukai (lay ordination) in 2005 and was ordained as a novice priest in 2010. He currently serves as Temple Holder at SWZC.

He is active in prison work, Spanish language outreach, and LGBTQ outreach. Outside of zen practice, Ando teaches English as a Second Language and Spanish at local community colleges.