Guiding Teacher

Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a Dharma teacher, Buddhist priest, partner and parent, and nonprofit executive.  At Upaya Zen Center he currently serves as the Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya’s founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax and is a lineage holder in the White Plum Asanga of Maezumi Roshi and the Zen Peacemaker Order of Bernie Glassman Roshi.

Joshin and his partner, Bernie Schlager, have a home in Shoreham and adult children and grandchildren in Rutland, Vergennes, and Middlebury. Joshin, whose secular name is Brian Byrnes, was the President and CEO of the Vermont Community Foundation from 2003-2008, affirming his connection to Vermont communities and deepening his understanding of the unique qualities, riches, and challenges of this region.

At Upaya, Joshin serves under the guidance of the Founder and the Board of Directors. He directs Upaya’s Chaplaincy Training program, resident program, and the Upaya Street Ministry.

Perhaps typical of many westerners who come to Buddhism, Joshin walks a braided spiritual path, influenced by numerous streams. He was a philosophy and theology student and a Dominican brother, has a philosophical affinity with secular humanism, and practiced with Vedic yogic traditions. He is inspired by the inter-spiritual practices of The New Monasticism, seeing himself as a “monk in the world.”

Zen practice includes an understanding that personal and social liberation co-arise as a result of an integrated life of zazen, study, community life, and service to others. Joshin is committed to supporting practice among people who are commonly marginalized because of economic status, education, ability, age, gender and sexual identity, and race; but who would like to benefit from mindfulness practices and spiritual companionship in a welcoming and inclusive environment.