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Al Zolynas was born at the end of World War II in Austria of Lithuanian parents and was raised in Sydney and Chicago.  Educated at the Universities of Illinois (BA) and Utah (MA, PhD), he taught English and writing for many years.  Al began Zen training at the Zen Center of Los Angeles in 1979, became a student of Charlotte Joko Beck and worked with her closely in Los Angeles and later in San Diego until she left in 2006. Al was authorized to teach by Ezra Bayda and Elizabeth Hamilton of the Zen Center of San Diego in 2012 and is recognized as a Zen teacher by the White Plum Asanga and the Ordinary Mind Zen School. He also continues to write and publish poetry. Contact:  


Among many influences on Al's Zen practice and teaching, the following have been especially strong:

  • First and foremost, the teachings of Charlotte Joko Beck.

  • The nondual principles of Advaita and Zen, especially as expressed by Huang Po, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jean Klein, Rupert Spira, Tony Parsons, and Stephan Bodian.

  • Ken Wilber’s integral approaches (The AQAL model--all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, and all types; and the developmental notions of "Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, and Showing Up").

  • Ezra Bayda's and Elizabeth Hamilton's teachings and practice suggestions.

  • Douglas Harding's "headless way."


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