The mission of Sky Island Zen is to offer a place for us to share the dharma and practice together in the Soto Zen tradition. Whether this is your first time to sit or you have practiced for years, we welcome everyone. You do not need to be a Zen student or even Buddhist. If you are new to zazen (sitting meditation), just do what others are doing and we will be happy to talk to you afterwards and answer any questions you may have. Or if you prefer, send an email in advance with any questions or to arrange for instructions to skyislandzen@gmail.com.

Chris Fortin

Holding/guiding teacher

Chris is a Zen priest as well as an MA, MFT psychotherapist and spiritual counselor. She leads Dharma Heart Zen and is the guiding teacher for three meditation groups. She is one of the leaders and teachers in the Everyday Zen community, and is the co-founder of Honoring the Path of the Warrior, offering retreats and meditation and mindfulness practices for returning veterans. She leads retreats and workshops throughout the country.

Shozan Mary Koopman

Founding priest

maryMary has been practicing Zen for many years, studying with Everyday Zen founder Norman Fischer. In 2012, she began to prepare for priesthood and was ordained by Chris Fortin in June 2014. She has been an RN for 40+ years, the last 20 prior to retirement working mostly in hospice. Once ordained and wishing to start a sangha here in Tucson in the Soto Zen lineage, she founded Sky Island Zen.  We aim to create a place for practice in an open and welcoming way that supports the growth of each of us as well as the sangha, and provide a place for study with the focus on how to take the teachings into our lives and bring our lives into our practice.