Board Members

Shohaku Okumura
Shohaku Okumura is currently the Abbot of Sanshinji ("Sanshin temple"). He is the founder and guiding teacher of Sanshin Zen Community, and has served on the Board since 1996. He lives at Sanshinji, in Bloomington, Indiana.

Mark Pfaff
Vice President and Secretary, Communications Chair
Mark Pfaff has been a member of the Board of Directors since August 2009. He is currently Communications Chair. In 2001, he received the precepts from Shohaku Okumura. From 2001 to 2004, he served on the board of Stillpoint, a Soto Zen practice community in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was the leader of the gardening crew, a member of the outreach community, and webmaster. He now lives in Indianapolis, IN, and is an assistant professor in the School of Informatics at Indiana University. The Communications Committee collaborates with Sanshin's Technology and Development efforts to get information out to the local and global Sanshin audience, and aims to keep the sangha interconnected through traditional and cutting-edge online technologies.

Don Orr
Chairman of the Board
Don joined the board of Sanshin in June of 2008 and took on the role of Treasurer in 2009. He has been a student of Shohaku-san for more than a decade and received precepts from him in 1998. He is a native of Malta and became a US citizen sometime in the previous century. He lives and works as an academic in Pittsburgh where he practices at Stillpoint, a lay organization of Zen practioners that has been in existence since 1990. Don is a longtime board member and former president of Stillpoint and spearheaded the group's successful efforts to purchase and rehab a structure in the Lawrenceville section of the city and opening its own practice center in 2002. Shohaku-san has been leading retreats at Stillpoint since the mid 90s and has performed three jukai ceremonies for its members.

David Thompson
Director, Dogen Institute
David joined the board of Sanshin in February 2012. David has been practicing with Shohaku-san since 2004 in Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Bloomington; he has also practiced at other Zen centers on the East Coast. He began sitting in 2001 with a student of Tenshin Reb Anderson and received the precepts from Reb in 2009. He is currently editing one of Shohaku-san's books-in-progress. David is employed as a policy analyst in a financial institution, and has master's degrees in American Civilization and in Organization Development, with particular interests in journaling, action research, creativity, and working with groups. He is thrilled to be associated with the Dogen Institute and is looking forward to helping move it forward. David is a native of Philadelphia, PA, enjoys hiking, is a second-year student of Japanese and practices his kanji every day.

Michael Shoaf
Michael Hosshin Shoaf is a long time zen practitioner here at Sanshinji, and is currently our Shissui (Work Leader.) He has been on the Board of Directors since 2011, and is currently the Board President. Michael resides in Gosport, IN, with his wife. When Michael is not taking care of Sanshin, he likes to go for long walks with his wife, and their dog.

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