Teachers and Practice Leaders

Developing a relationship with a teacher through having private practice meetings is an essential part of Zen training. These are formal meetings at the temple in which an engaged practitioner can bring questions about the dharma and practice, and benefit from the experienced guidance, encouragement, and presence of a teacher. Our Head Teacher, Visiting Teachers and Practice Leaders are available to meet with those who have been regularly practicing for a period of months to discuss their practice life. Practice Leaders at AZC have practiced Zen for many years, have served as Shuso (Head Student) for a Practice Period, and have been invited by the guiding teacher to meet with practitioners and guide them. 

 AZC Guiding Teacher – Rev. Choro Antonaccio

 Rev. Choro Carla Antonaccio began formal Zen practice at Chapel Hill Zen Center in 1999. She received lay precepts from her teacher, Rev. Josho Patricia Phelan, in 2001 and priest ordination in 2010. She was shuso in Chapel Hill in 2016. Rev. Choro has practiced at the three temples of San Francisco Zen Center including practice periods at Tassajara and Green Gulch Farm. In Chapel Hill she served for multiple years in the positions of Tenzo, Work Leader, and Ino and also served as member at large and president of the board of directors. She decided to end a career in academia in 2018, and moved to Austin to practice with the sangha at AZC in 2020, serving as Tanto (Head of Practice). In 2021, she received dharma transmission from Rev. Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, Abbot of Houston Zen Center, and became Guiding Teaching of AZC in 2022. She is a full member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association and also of the American Zen Teachers Association. She may be reached for dokusan (practice guidance with a transmitted teacher) at choro@austinzencenter.org

AZC Lay Entrusted Teacher – Pat Yingst

ShiOn Pat Yingst began practicing Zen meditation in 1988 and has been a member of Austin Zen Center since its inception. She received Lay Entrustment from Rev. Doshin Mako Voelkel in March 2022.

Pat has served on the AZC Board of Directors,  worked for several years as the AZC bookkeeper, taught Buddhist meditation for many years in Central Texas prisons and was one of the two founding editors of Just This – originally the AZC journal  which continues to this day as an online blog.  Currently she is a member of the practice committee, and administers the Saturday Morning Zazen Instruction program.  Pat may be reached for practice discussion at pat@austinzencenter.org. 


AZC Director – Jess Engle

Seigetsu Jess Engle began practicing at Austin Zen Center in 2017. She received the precepts from from Rev. Doshin Mako Voelkel in December of 2021. Jess took on the role of AZC Director in 2022 to put her business and marketing experience to good use.

Jess left her marketing career in 2012 to become a contemporary painter. Similar to zen practice, she works with the elements of space, form, time and attention.

Jess can be reached at jess@austinzencenter.org. 

Temple Administrator – Maida Barbour

Maida Barbour works at Austin Zen Center as the Temple Administrator. She has managed a number of small businesses including her own service dog training company. She grew up in a Quaker family who traveled the world leading interfaith study groups. She also volunteers with the local HIV/AIDS hospice.

She lives in Austin with her husband, three dogs, and an African Gray Parrot.

Maida can be reached at admin@austinzencenter.org.