Mark Kanchi Esterman, Roshi | I. Generation


Mark Kanchi Esterman, Roshi, began Zen training under Japanese Rinzai Zen Master Seikan Hasegawa in 1969 and continued training with him in locations on the East coast of the U.S. as well as in Japan until 2002. He was ordained by Rev. Hasegawa in 1997 and served under him as Head Monk of Rock Creek Buddhist Temple 1970-2002, and Vice-Abbott 1999-2002.

He began studying with Zen Master Genpo Merzel at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City in 2003. He received Jukai (Receiving the Precepts) and Shukke Tokudo (Ordination) from Genpo Roshi in 2004, Hoshi (Lineage Holder) in 2010, Shiho (Transmission as a successor and teacher of Zen) October 17, 2014, and Inka (recognition as Zen Master [Roshi]) June 3, 2022.

Mark was born and raised in the New York City area. He and his wife Margaret, who is a Rinpoche in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, have been married since 1977 and have three children and three grandchildren. They are also partners in an independent book publishing company which has published books in a variety of fields including education, music, art, children’s books and gardening as well as Buddhism. He is a graduate of Amherst College and received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. He has taught classes on Zen, Big Mind and meditation locally at Kanzeon Zen Center, the University of Utah Lifelong Learning Program and elsewhere.

He founded the Salt Lake Zen Group in 2012.

He may be contacted at or phone at 801-532-4833.


The Salt Lake Zen Group welcomes all who wish to explore the path of self-discovery and awakening in a mutually supportive environment.  We offer a regular schedule of meditation and talks, open to the public free of charge (donations gratefully accepted).  Beginners, visitors and experienced practitioners of any religious or non-religious background are invited to participate at all events.

The regular weekly schedule includes Sunday morning talks and morning meditation Monday through Thursday. The Group is led by Mark Esterman Roshi, a Dharma successor of Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi, who is the founder of Kanzeon International Sangha and the Big Mind process ( For more information about our schedule and locations, see the Map and Calendar, or our “Contact Us” page.

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