Carolyn Atkinson – Eiko Joshin – is a Dharma Heir of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, and has been practicing Zen Buddhist meditation since 1973. Carolyn is a priest in the Soto Zen tradition. She received Dharma Transmission from her Teacher before his unexpected death in 2002. She is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association (AZTA) and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA). She has also studied in the Theravadin tradition, and is a trained Community Dharma Leader. She combines elements from both lineages in her teaching.
As a householder practitioner, Carolyn has lived in Santa Cruz for many years and is the mother of two grown sons. In addition, she studied traditional Chinese medicine in San Francisco and in China. She practiced acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in Santa Cruz from 1982 to 2001.
Quiet Mind Open Heart. Carolyn’s first book, Quiet Mind Open Heart – A Practice Period in Meditation, is available at the zendo, through local bookstores, and at Amazon.com. Based on lectures and meditation coaching sessions, Carolyn gives a series of steps toward letting go, calming the mind, and opening the heart.
A Light In The Mind. In her second book, Carolyn looks directly at the startling and inspiring practice of living our lives just as they are. Developing an ongoing willingness to embrace self-acceptance allows us to discover a place of peace—a light in the mind.
In 2018, Carolyn published an essay, “Accepting Our Lives in Difficult Times,” in an anthology, Zen Teachings in Challenging Times, published by Temple Ground Press (Olympia, WA.) The book jacket read: “twenty-five leading American teachers of Soto Zen Buddhism speak to all who have suffered and sought spiritual guidance, revealing personal stories of sickness, death, political anger, fear, jealousy, environmental corruption, disillusionment, and longing for peace. They offer insight to how to stand with poise through the woes of existence and emerge transformed by our suffering…to face all possibilities.”
Carolyn has also written several articles published in Sweeping Zen magazine, including “Choosing Kindness: A Story By Carolyn Atkinson”, “this is what there is”, and “A Light In The Mind – Kobun Chino Roshi As Remembered By Carolyn Atkinson”. She also taught the New Year’s Sesshin at Stiftung Felsentor in Switzerland from 2005 to 2012.
A 2009 interview with Carolyn is also posted on sweepingzen.com here.
Link to Kobun’s Stories–about Carolyn’s teacher, Kobun Chino Otagawa-Roshi