Sosan Theresa Flynn
Guiding Teacher
Email Sosan: sosan [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Sosan began practicing Zen in 1992, was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest in 1997, and received dharma transmission from Joen Snyder O’Neal in 2012. She enjoys working with lay students, as well as those who wish to pursue priest ordination. For the past 17 years, Sosan has taught beginning and intermediate classes on Zen Buddhist principles, ethical guidelines,  meditation practices and council practice. She has officiated at many ceremonies (daily liturgy, special liturgies, wedding, baby naming, and memorial services), and also offers premarital and couples counseling. Sosan has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and worked in both community mental health and staff training before coming to work at the Zen center. Since 2015 she has served as the Guiding Teacher for Clouds in Water. Sosan and her husband of 30+ years have raised one son, now an adult who brings them great joy. They live a short distance from Clouds in Water with their three cats.  Sosan’s website

Kyoku Tracey Walen
Email Kyoku: kyoku [dot] walen [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Kyoku began practicing Buddhism in 1998, was ordained in 2008 and given Dharma transmission by Byakuren Judith Ragir in 2015.  She trained from 2008-2010 at Great Vow Zen Monastery with co-abbots Jan Chozen and Hogen Bays. She also studied Zen sewing of robes and vestments with Tomoe Katagiri and became one of her successors in 2014.  She has a background in business consulting and financial management. Currently she serves as a zen teacher at Clouds in Water and the Rush City prison and is a member of SZBA. Beginning June 2018 Kyoku is residing at Hokyoji Zen Practice Community. She will be available one week each month in St. Paul to see students and have practice meetings.

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Flying Fish Barbara Murphy
Email Flying Fish: flyingfish [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Flying Fish was ordained by Diane Martin at Udumbara Zen Center in Evanston, IL in 2004 and received transmission from Byakuren Judith Ragir in 2015. She supports this community through dharma talks, teaching classes and one on one meetings with practitioners. Flying Fish is the Youth Practice leader here at Clouds supporting our youths and families from birth up through high school. She was trained at Abbott Northwestern Hospital as a medical chaplain and has worked as a hospice chaplain with Allina Health System.  Currently she sits on the Spiritual Advisory Board at Allina. Her background includes an MA in Architecture and BA in Art History and has worked both as a designer and art consultant in these fields. Her husband and two adult children have and continue to be an important part of her life.

Onryu (Gentle Dragon) Kennedy
Teacher and Leader of the Engaged Buddhism Group at Clouds
Email Onryu: onryu [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Onryu studied Classical Ashtanga Yoga with Baba Hari Dass beginning in June 1996.  In 2004, after circumambulating Mt. Kailash she re-connected with Judith Ragir Byakuren Roshi. In November 2012, she was ordained by Byakuren Roshi in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. Onryu received dharma transmission from Byakuren Roshi in October 2018.

Engaged Buddhism emerges out of her 22 years of working with abused children and Bearing Witness retreats.  In 2016, she organized and was a lead teacher in a Bearing Witness retreat in St.Paul, acknowledging the genocide at Fort Snelling.  In 2019, she was the lead teacher supporting Indigenous women, in the Winyan Awanyakapi: Protecting the Life-givers conference. 

Currently, Gentle Dragon (Onryu) is working on certification from the Japanese Sotoshu.  In 2018, she was ordained by Eido Phoebe Reinhart. This ordination is Uchiyama Roshi’s lineage.  Gentle Dragon (Onryu) attended the 2019, summer ango at Toshoji Temple in Japan.  

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Byakuren Judith Ragir
Senior Dharma Teacher  Emeritus

Byakuren studied with Dainin Katagiri roshi from 1973-1990 at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis. In 2007, She was given Dharma transmission by Joen Snyder-O’Neal of Compassion Ocean Dharma Center.  Byakuren was instrumental in founding Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul where she was the Guiding Teacher from November, 2006 to 2015.  She has a background in dance, body-work and Oriental Medicine. Currently, she is working with senior students, writing about Buddhism and making Buddhist Temple Art.   Byakuren’s website


Ken Ford
Senior Dharma Teacher Emeritus
Email Ken: ken [dot] ford [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students on a limited basis)

Ken found his way into Zen practice slowly, beginning with “academic” exploration in his college years, then his first contacts with Dainin Katagiri roshi in Minneapolis in 1976. He studied at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Hokyoji with Katagiri roshi and, later, Shohaku Okumura. He has studied at Tassajara monastery and Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California, and at Clouds in Water where he has been an active member since 1999. Retired from a career as a city planner, Ken is a senior dharma teacher at Clouds in Water Zen Center. He does volunteer work for Nonviolent Peaceforce and participates in interfaith dialogue in the local community.  

Toku Scott
Email Toku: Toku [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Toku was ordained by Bev Forsman at Dharma Field Zen Center in Minneapolis in 2013. She is currently a student of Sojun Diane Martin, who lives near Ottawa, Illinois. Toku lives in Minneapolis and is a former newspaper and magazine editor. She is immensely grateful for the opportunity to study and practice the Buddhadharma.

Myoshin Diane Benjamin
Lay teacher
Email Myōshin: myoshin [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Myoshin began practicing Buddhism in 1996 and received initiation as a lay dharma teacher-in-training in the fall of 2017 from Sosan Flynn. She taught for over a decade in the children’s program at Clouds in Water, and has practiced at Hokyoji and Ryumonji monasteries. She has worked for many years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and is also a musician. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife and daughter.

Myo-On Susan Hagler
Email Myo-On: myoon [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

(available to meet with students)

Myo On Susan Hagler feels fortunate to have been able to practice with Katagiri -Roshi. She was ordained by Tim Burkett in 2003 and received dharma transmission from Dokai Georgesen in August of 2018 and has practiced at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, Hokyoji Zen Practice Community, Green Gulch Farm in CA and other twin cities zen centers. Myo On attended the first unit of chaplaincy training at Gunderson Hospital in LaCrosse, WI . Friendliness and open heartedness are the foundations of her practice.

Teachers in Training

Taizan Alford
Email Taizan: taizan [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Taizan took home-leaving vows (shukke tokudo ordination)  at Clouds In Water Zen Center in 2016 with his teacher Sōsan Flynn. The journey with meditation began through the yogic path in the mid 1980s. He has been a yoga instructor since 1998. When not at Clouds for training, you can find him sitting most Saturday mornings in Appleton, Wisconsin with the Joyful Mind Sangha at the FVUUF; hanging out with his husband Tom; or singing and playing music around the midwest as a part of  the duo Cypress Dreams.

Genjō Conway
Email Genjō: genjo [dot] sam [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Genjo has been practicing with Clouds since 2011. He was ordained by Byakuren Judith Ragir Roshi in 2016. He has served as a chaplain in residential treatment and currently works as a psychotherapist. Genjo lives in Minneapolis with his three children.



Kikan Mike Howard
Youth Practice Leader and Priest-in-Training
Email Kikan: kikan [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Kikan has been studying Zen Buddhism since the late 1990’s. He was ordained by Sosan in 2018, and is the Youth Practice Leader at Clouds in Water. In his spare time, Kikan is an independent app developer and cat wrangler.


Katheleen Avila
Lay teacher-in-training
Email Katheleen: k [dot] avila [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Katheleen has been practicing in the Buddhist community for the past 20 years. She began studying with Joen Snyder-O’Neal at Compassionate Ocean Dharma Center and received jukai in 2008. Katheleen’s dharma name is Keian-unfolding peace. She has been practicing at Clouds in Water for a number of years where she has been an active member. In May, 2019 Katheleen was initiated by Kyoku Tracy Walen to continue studying to be a lay teacher and given the name Yakuson-medicine mountain.


Fushin Susan Schoenbohm
Email Fushin: susanschoenbohm [at] cloudsinwater [dot] org

Fushin is on a leave of absence from formal priest training for the next several months.

Fushin has practiced zen seriously since 2005 under the guidance of several teachers including Tenshin Reb Anderson and Sosan Theresa Flynn. Her philosophical interests continue into her zen practice, and she is especially interested in how language shapes thought. Fushin was ordained by Sosan Flynn in May of 2019.