About Us

Founding Teacher

Zen Master Seung Sahn 1927 – 2004

Zen Master Seung Sahn Zen Master Seung Sahn was the founding teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen. The 78th patriarch in his line of dharma transmission in the Korean order of Chogye Buddhism, he founded Zen centers all over the world. After a long illness, he died at his home at Hwa Gye Sah Temple in Seoul on November 30, 2004. You can get more information on the Kwan Um School of Zen and Zen Master Seung Sahn here.


Guiding Teacher

Zen Master Dae Kwang

Zen Master Dae Kwang

Zen Master Dae Kwang is an ordained monk and former Abbot of the Kwan Um School of Zen in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition, he is the Guiding Teacher of the Great Lake Zen Center. He currently resides in Singapore.

 

 


Dharma Teachers

Mike Zinke

 

Michael Zinke, BT

Mike Zinke, Bodhisattva Teacher, has been practicing Zen with the Kwan Um School of Zen since 1992. In addition, he shares his Zen experience by offering monthly talks on Zen and Buddhism at the Waukesha Unitarian Church. Mike retired from IBM after spending the majority of his career as an IT Consultant.

 

Susi Childress


Susi Childress, BT, Do Gam

Bodhisattva Dharma Teacher Susi Childress serves as the Do Gam and Head Dharma Teacher of the Great Lake Zen Center. Susi has been a Dharma Teacher since 2001 and has been practicing in the Kwan Um School of Zen since 1995. Susi is a retired high school learning disabilities teacher.


Pete Neuwald

Pete Neuwald, SDT, Abbot

Senior Dharma Teacher Pete Neuwald is the Abbot of the Great Lake Zen Center, and has been practicing in the Kwan Um School of Zen since 1994.

Laura Otto-Salaj


Laura Otto-Salaj, SDT

Senior Dharma Teacher Laura Otto-Salaj has been practicing in the Kwan Um School of Zen since 1992. She is also a research psychologist with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for the Addiction and Behavioral Health Research; her research focuses on the intersection between addiction and sexual risk behavior.


Andy Yencha

Andy Yencha, DT

Andy Yencha has been practicing in the Kwan Um School of Zen since 1997 and became a Dharma Teacher in 2003. Andy served as a natural resources educator for the University of Wisconsin Extension for 21 years before becoming the Senior Land Manager at the Lynden Sculpture Garden in 2015. Andy serves as Secretary for the Great Lake Zen Center’s Board of Directors and also helps the Center with publicity.


Gretchen Neuwald

Gretchen Neuwald, DT

Gretchen Neuwald, DT, has been practicing since 2004 and became a Dharma Teacher in 2011. Gretchen has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and works as a library technician. She is married to Pete Neuwald and has two grown daughters, who are living and working in New York. In 2011, she and her husband happily became first-time grandparents to their granddaughter.


Chris Rundblad

Chris Rundblad, DT

Chris came to the door of Great Lake Zen center more than ten years ago. She immediately Found the center to be comfortable, practical, and solid. In addition to shared practice at Zen Center, her personal practice includes sitting and walking meditation with her dog and living life as a good potato.