Our Guiding Teachers


Zen Master Seung Sahn is the founding teacher of our school, and the 78th Patriarch in his line of transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism. He came to the United States in 1972 and established the Providence Zen Center, the first center in what is now called the Kwan Um School of Zen. He and his students have founded more than a hundred temples, centers, and groups around the world. His books include Ten Gates, The Compass of Zen, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, and The Whole World Is A Single Flower — 365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life. Zen Master Seung Sahn passed away in 2004.

"Your correct relationship to this life does not come out of any kind of understanding. You cannot reason life and death. So if you want to pass the gate of Zen, first you must completely cut off all attachment to thinking, and return to your mind before thinking arises." —Zen Master Seung Sahn, Founding Teacher

Thom Pastor


Zen Master Ji Haeng, Thomas Pastor, is founder (1994) and Abbot of the Zen Center of Las Vegas. He began formal study in the Kwan Um School of Zen in the late 1980's at Dharma Zen Center in Los Angeles. He became a Dharma Teacher in 1994 and received inka from Zen Master Seung Sahn on April 6, 2002. In addition to his Abbot responsibilities in Las Vegas, Zen Master Ji Haeng is also the guiding teacher of the Isthmus Zen Community in Madison, WI. and served as Guiding Teacher in Vancouver, BC. for a period of some years. Ji Haeng has led retreats in Denver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Fairbanks, Cambridge, South Florida, and Tallahassee and has given kongan interviews in Pengerang, Malaysia and Singapore. For fifteen years he taught an Introduction to Zen Buddhism course at UNLV before retiring from that position. He initiated a zen meditation program at Federal Prison Nellis which was recognized for having the highest participation rate of any religious program at the facility. (The prison was closed in 2006). An alumnus of the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Thom has performed with dozens of recording and show business luminaries and continues to play saxophone in Las Vegas at various jazz venues. Having continued his kong an practice with Zen Master Wu Kwang, Richard Shrobe, who he still considers to be his teacher, Ji Haeng received transmission from Wu Kwang Zen Master on April 5, 2014.

"Why waste time seeking a 'good meditation' experience. When your mind does not wander beyond immediate surroundings, the precision and intelligence of each moment is ever present. Things appear because of conditions and disappear because of conditions. Everything is constantly changing, no beginning, no end, and is without an essential self. When situations and conditions do not shape you, each moment is unique." —from “Ode to Great Zen Master Seung Sahn” by Zen Master Ji Haeng, Guiding Teacher

Dave Peters


Beginning with explorations of the "Tao Te Ching" in the late 1970's, Ed continues to study the world's philosophies and contemplative traditions. First exposed to Zen in 1981 under Katagiri Roshi, Ed began practicing in the Kwan Um School in 2002, taking Senior Dharma Teacher precepts in 2015 and becoming abbot of Isthmus Zen Community in 2016. Ed is a poet, musician, composer, gourmet cook and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

"Everything is complete and perfect just as it is. When we stop pouring energy into wanting our situation to be different somehow, when we let go of our attachment to personal loss and gain, the Great Way opens before us. Every situation can be used. The unpleasant and difficult situations are often the most useful." —Ed Augustine, Senior Dharma Teacher and Abbot