Our Teacher

Bodhi Oak Zen Sangha is led by Myogo Mary-Allen Macneil, a Soto Zen Priest in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the founder of San Francisco Zen Center. Mary-Allen was ordained in 2008 by Myoan Grace Schireson (Abbess of the Central Valley Zen Foundation) and is currently studying with Baika Andrea Pratt, Sensei of the Mt. Diablo Zen Group. Mary-Allen teaches meditation, leads services, offers individual practice discussion, and presides at weddings and funerals.

Spiritual Direction

Mary-Allen Macneil holds a Certificate in the Art and Practice of Spiritual Direction from Mercy Center in Burlingame. She offers an interfaith perspective in Spiritual Direction by combining her heritage as a Catholic Christian with Zen meditation, which she has studied for more than eighteen years. She was a volunteer chaplain with Hinds Hospice, which serves Fresno, Madera, and Merced Counties, for eight years. She was a co-founder of Lydia’s House, a program in Christian women’s spirituality at St. Paul Newman Center in Fresno, now in its twenty-third year.  Following the principle of spiritual care for everyone regardless of faith background that is the heart of chaplaincy care, Mary-Allen offers a contemplative approach to Spiritual Direction to men and women of all faiths, including those who consider themselves humanist, agnostic, or atheist. All sessions are held in strict confidence.

Usually meetings are scheduled for one hour, once a month. Meetings are arranged at a time and place that is convenient for you. We first schedule an initial session to explore how spiritual direction might be of interest to you. There is no commitment or obligation to continue after that. Please contact Mary-Allen for further information or to schedule an appointment.

Death Education and Counseling

Following the example of Shakyamuni Buddha in not averting from the heavenly messengers of old age, illness, and death, Zen practice helps us turn towards these challenges of life from a view that is stable and open.  Mary-Allen is certified as an End-of-Life Practitioner by the Metta Institute.  She is also a Certified Thanatologist through the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and she served as a volunteer hospice chaplain with Hinds Hospice for eight years.

In the future, Bodhi Oak Zen Sangha will offer educational programs in death awareness supported by meditation practice. Mary-Allen is available for personal consultation for those who are facing serious or life-threatening illness, and their families. Please see our contact page if you are interested in a consultation.