AZC Board of Directors

Mission Statement

Cultivating Buddha’s wisdom and compassion in the heart of Texas.

The Austin Zen Center community offers a haven of peace and harmony in which to engage in the task of self-discovery through Zen practice. Welcoming diversity, the practice of zazen is available to people of every race, religion, nationality, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical ability. May all beings realize their true nature.

We offer the teachings and practices of the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and are an affiliate of the San Francisco Zen Center.

Current Board of Directors

The work of the board is to determine the mission of AZC; select and support the Head Teacher or Abbot; support the staff; engage in strategic planning; oversee AZC's budget and programs; protect our organization's assets; assist with fundraising; and ensure AZC's legal and ethical integrity.

The board values your feedback about our practice community. If you would like to share a concern or a delight, please feel free to contact Anne Handley using the AZC Board Contact page.

  • David Adelman (bio)
  • Ernest Caple (bio)
  • Melanie Gulick (bio)
  • Anne Handley (bio)
  • Ivey Lien (bio)
  • Eric Travis, (bio)

David Adelman has long been interested in Buddhism and meditation, but he did not begin practicing Zen until 2010. Not long after moving to Austin, his experience at AZC drew him into the practice and introduced him to the teachings of Shunryu Suzuki and other Zen masters. He lives with his wife Helen, who helped reintroduce him to meditation practice, and daughter Hazel, who provides inspiration for embodying Zen practice in all aspects of his life. David enjoys yoga, hiking (particularly in the high country of Colorado and California), traveling, and reading. He is a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ernest Caple became interested in yoga and meditation after moving to Austin in 1973 after serving in the USAF. After studying yoga for a summer at the Himalayan Institute, he continued a lifelong yoga practice. He has also enjoyed practicing various martial arts including Karate, Chi Gong and Tai Chi. He started studying Zen with David Collins in 1998. In the last two years, he has studied Zen more intensively at the Austin Zen Center. Ernest graduated from the University of Texas in 1981 in mechanical engineering and worked in Austin until his retirement in 2010. He is married to Sondra Creighton, who is also a retired engineer. They have one daughter Michaela Caple. Ernest and his wife enjoy exercising, traveling and hiking in Colorado.

Melanie Gulick read about the happenings at the Austin Zen Center as an email list subscriber long before coming to beginner’s meditation instruction in December 2009. She pledged membership the next month and kept coming, taking lay vows with seven other Sangha members at a Jukai ceremony in December 2015. Cello and dance and choreography were her early forms of meditation. Moving to Austin from Washington state in 1982, she worked at Wheatsville Food Co-op for six years before joining the staff of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UT-Austin as a Graduate Coordinator in 1989. Melanie and her girlfriend of 25-plus years, Ms. Jeffrey Lee Hillhouse, were married on July 7, 2015. The family includes River, a Plott Hound mix; cats Chester Ray and Bradley Gene; and the friendly ghosts of many beloved pets.

Anne Handley was first introduced to Buddhism in her youth and after many years of attempting a solitary mediation practice joined AZC in 2010. She has lived in Austin for over 20 years and has been profoundly impacted by the simple practice of zazen and the teachings of Shunryu Suzuki, who brought Soto Zen to the U.S. Anne received her graduate degree in social work from the University of Texas and believes her work as a psychiatric social worker has been enriched by the example of the bodhisattva vow. She shares her love of Zen with her husband Rob Wilson and together they have worked to establish the AZC Environmental Studies Group which is a member of the Interfaith Environmental Network of Austin.

Ivey Lian has been a member of Austin Zen Center since moving to Austin in 2011 and received the bodhisattva precepts in 2014. She received her graduate degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and works in the field of Interaction Design. Ivey spends her days running around with her dog, Hiro and spending time with her family.

Eric Travis was sure he would like to join a sangha some day after many years of reading about Buddhism. He began sitting at the Austin Zen Center in 2008 and received the bodhisattva precepts in December 2012. Eric has worked as a librarian at various locations within the Austin Public Library system since 1991. He is married to Vivien Addison, who is also a librarian. They have a daughter, Ariel, and a son, Severin, who are now adults and do not show any signs of becoming librarians. Eric has lived nearly all of his adult life in Austin and grew up in San Antonio, Texas.


Financial Report

AZC financial report presented at our recent Annual Meeting on 2/4/2017.

Dharma Talks


Shotai De La Rosa, August 12, 2017, Letting Go

Shoryu Bradley, August 5, 2017, Your Perspective Is (Most Likely) Not The Only One: Keep Investigating!

AZC Dharma Talks »


Donna Birdwell

Our online magazine, JustThis, is an active, alive blog rather than a magazine which comes out in issues. We post pieces as they come in to encourage conversation and interaction between the readers and the writers.

We use the Tuesday night Zen Writing group as the source of many of the postings. As well, we welcome other submissions for consideration.

Visit the JustThis writers and artists in their endeavors.