About Us

The Morning Star Zen Center

The Morning Star Zen Center was founded in 1986 by Jim Jackson, who at the time of his death in 2007 was a Senior Dharma Teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen, and his wife, Barbara Taylor, who is also a Senior Dharma Teacher.  Dharma Teacher John Kling  joined the center in 2008 when he moved to Northwest Arkansas.  He was previously with the Indianapolis Zen Center.

Zen Master Seung Sahn

The founding teacher of our School is Zen Master Seung Sahn, the 78th Patriarch in his line of transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism. In 1972, he came to the United States and started the Providence Zen Center, the first center in what is now the Kwan Um School. He and his students have founded over a hundred temples, centers, and groups around the world. His books include Ten Gates, The Compass of Zen, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, Only Don’t Know, and The Whole World is a Single Flower–365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life.

Zen Master Seung Sahn

Zen Master Seung Sahn Died on November 30, 2004, at Hwa Gye Sah temple in Seoul, Korea. He died peacefully, surrounded by his students. He was 77.

In June 2004, he had received the title of “Great Master” from the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism, in appreciation for his lifetime of teaching. This is the highest honor the order confers.

Zen Master Soeng Hyang

Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) is the School Zen Master and Guiding Dharma Teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen. She received dharma transmission from Zen Master Seung Sahn on October 10, 1992. She was one of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s first American students and studied with him since 1972. She was given inka in 1977. A registered nurse since 1969, she works for Hospice Care of Rhode Island. She helped found Providence Zen Center, and lived there for seventeen years, serving a number of administrative capacities. Zen Master Soeng Hyang has a daugher and lives with her partner, Mary, in Massachusetts.

Zen Master Hae Kwang

Zen Master Hae Kwang (Stanley Lombardo) received inka from Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1992 and transmission as a Zen Master in 1998. He is editor and co-editor of three of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s books (Bone of Space, Only Don’t Know, and Ten Gates). He is a Classics professor at the University of Kansas and has published translations of Greek poetry and philosophy, including translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. He has also co-authored a translation of the Tao Te Ching. He is the Morning Star Zen Center’s Guiding Teacher.


“To study the way of the Buddha is to study oneself.  To study oneself is to forget oneself.  To forget oneself is to be enlightened by everything.”