Teaching Team

Lee L. Lipp

December 9, 1937 – August 17, 2016

Dr. Lipp was a professor of graduate level psychology for 16 years, psychotherapist in private practice, training supervisor of clinical interns, diversity activist and educator, and inspirational San Francisco Bay Area Buddhist meditation teacher.  She was an expert on synthesizing psychotherapeutic skills with Mindfulness meditation in managing chronic depression and anxiety, and preventing substance abuse relapse.

Dr. Lipp taught classes for many years in Bay Area meditation and Mental & Behavioral Health communities and just prior to her death, her signature program, Befriending Your Pain, was brought online so that her work could continue to be “of benefit to anyone, anywhere, anytime, no matter their means to pay” – indicative of her dedication to service as a way of life.  Her workshops related to Transforming Depression & Anxiety continue to be offered by colleagues, through the San Francisco Zen Center, and her companion Every Now and Then Encouraging Words newsletter continues publication under a new editor.

Dr. Lipp’s service to the Bay Area Mental Health community included work for the San Francisco Mental Health Association, San Francisco Department of Mental Health, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, the Drug Court of the Superior Court of California-San Francisco County, and Haight Ashbury Psychological Services.  Her own education included training with Zindel Segal, Ph.D. and Steven Alper, L.C.S.W., Services. 

Lee was a member of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing and engaged in Zen and Vipassana meditation practice for over 20 years.  She completed Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s two-year Community Dharma Leader training program and lived and worked at the San Francisco Zen Center, where she taught workshops and served a variety roles, including Shuso (head student), Cultural and Awareness Advocate, member of the Ethics and Reconciliation Council, and Diversity & Outreach Coordinator.  Her reach extended further, through workshops and practice groups she facilitated at many other Bay Area Buddhist centers, including Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Center, Zen Hospice Project, Tassajara Mountain Center, San Francisco Insight, Arcata Zen Center, and East Bay Meditation Center, and for the Gay Men’s Buddhist Sangha.  Lee’s work in diversity education and activism was well-regarded and influenced culture change in the Bay Area, where she also served on the board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship (BPF) and led Buddhist Alliance for Social Engagement training programs for BPF. 

Lee was known to her family, friends, colleagues and students as compassionate, creative, playful and loving.  She had a deep appreciation for the kindness of strangers and drew inspiration from the Buddhist figure Avalokiteshvara (Kwan Yin), who hears the cries of the world’s pain and represents the embodiment of great compassion, vowing to free all sentient beings from suffering. Lee’s effervescent friendliness was matched by patience and profound wisdom – true to her Buddhist name, Ninsen Kashin: River of Patience, Singing Heart.  She had a smile that lit up a room, and a penchant for beautiful yarn, good cookies and delicious cupcakes.

Jisho Lisa Beth Hoffman

Jisho Lisa Beth Hoffman was ordained as a Zen priest by the late Surei Darlene Cohen at San Francisco Zen Center, and received Dharma Transmission from Meiji Tony Patchell in August 2013 at the Russian River Zendo. Lisa’s passion is bringing the Buddhist teachings, meditation and mindfulness into the world in a way that’s easy and useful for people to integrate into their everyday lives. She does this as a priest and as a nonprofit coach and consultant. 


Lisa works with individual students, as well as giving dharma talks and leading retreats and mindfulness workshops. As a speaker, she specializes in introducing Buddhism and mindfulness to new audiences.  Lisa’s educational background includes studies through the Shogaku Zen Institute, and training through the Russian River Zendo and San Francisco Zen Center. Find out more about Lisa, and her writing at www.lisahoffman.net or contact her directly: lisa(at)lisahoffman.net.

Paul Irving

Paul Irving has practiced in Eastern and Western contemplative traditions for over 40 years. Having completed Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leader Program in 2012, he holds Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s certification to teach in the community. Much of his teaching has been at San Francisco Insight, where he has also served as SFI’s board president. Additionally, Paul is one the facilitators for the Transforming Depression and Anxiety Practice Class that meets weekly at City Center. He currently is the practice manager of four allied medical clinics at UCSF and is engaged in moment-to-moment family practice with a husband, a teenager, and a rambunctious dog.

Tenzen David Zimmerman

City Center Abiding Abbot

Rev. Tenzen David Zimmerman has been practicing Soto Zen since the early 90s, and has lived and practiced at San Francisco Zen Center since 2000. He was ordained as a Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi by Teah Strozer in 2006 and received Dharma Transmission from her in 2018. David spent eight years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, where he held a number of positions, including monastery director. Prior to his current role as the Abiding Abbot of City Center, David also served as the Tanto (Head of Practice), programs director and corporate secretary. David has a Certificate of Zen Ministry through the Shogaku Zen Institute/Zen Priest Training Seminary, serves on the SFZC Promoting Inclusivity & Equity Committee, and is a co-facilitator of Queer Dharma. He regularly leads retreats, workshops, and classes at SFZC and other dharma centers, particularly on transforming depression and anxiety.