Dr. Lee Lipp created the Transforming Depression and Anxiety (TDA) programs at SFZC.  Lee was originally invited to design and lead this course by one of her spiritual teachers and mentors. She presented these courses for approximately eight years.  Lisa Beth Hoffman, Paul Irving, and David Zimmerman co-led the TDA programs with Lee and are honored to continue her legacy today.   

Biography:  Lee L. Lipp: December 9, 1937 – August 17, 2016

Dr. Lipp was a professor of graduate-level psychology for 16 years, a psychotherapist in private practice, a training supervisor of clinical interns, a diversity activist and educator, and an 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. 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.


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, 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.

CONTINUING LEE’S LEGACY:  Dr. Lipp’s legacy continues through the workshops and classes on transforming depression and anxiety offered by San Francisco Zen Center and as led by Lisa Beth Hoffman, Paul Irving, and David Zimmerman, who were honored to have co-lead the TDA programs with Lee. Lee’s legacy also continues through her online course offered as a self-directed study program, BEFRIENDING YOUR PAIN: Transforming our Relationship to Depression, Anxiety, Physical and Emotional Pain, Through Mindfulness and Compassion

ARCHIVE OF DHARMA TALKS by Dr. Lee Lipp can be found here:

A Relationship With Suffering – 08/20/2014 Lee Lipp, Lee Lipp dharma talk at City Center 

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"every now and then"
This newsletter was started by Dr. Lipp as a 'now and again' gentle reminder and encouragement grounded in the TDA teachings. Her devoted student Tracy Masington continues this written teaching tradition.