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Diane Eshin Rizzetto

Diane Eshin Rizzetto is the founder and abbot of the Bay Zen Center in Oakland California. Diane is a dharma succesor to Charlotte Joko Beck and is a founding member of the Ordinary Mind Zen School, a non-denominational approach to cultivating awareness in the activities of daily life. She is the author of Waking Up to What You Do (Shambhala Press, Publication Date: May, 2005).

Diane was born in 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. Having dropped out of high school after the tenth grade, she married and had three children by the time she was 20 years old. Without a formal education and faced with supporting her three children alone when her marriage ended she found work in factories, as a waitress, and as a part time clerk. She says, "I struggled to provide the basics for my children. I had no idea what the future would bring. I tried hard to stay off welfare. My life was pretty tough, but I wouldn't give up that time for anything. It was one of the greatest teachings of my life."

Diane continued her education and, in 1969, married her present husband while doing graduate work at Brown University where she received her MA in American Literature. In 1978 she moved from New England to California with her husband and three teen-age children.

In the late seventies, Diane began practicing Zen meditation at the Berkeley Zen Center in Berkeley, CA. She says, "When I walked into the meditation hall for the first time, I felt like I had come home." Diane met Charlotte Joko Beck at the Los Angeles Zen Center in 1983, and embarked on intensive studies. In 1984 she founded the Bay Zen Center with several other students.

Diane worked as a high school English teacher and learning therapist for 25 years before she retired to devote full time to Zen teaching. In 1994 Diane received monk's ordination and Dharma transmission (recognition as a teacher).

In addition to sitting zazen and attending retreats, Diane encourages her students to seek understanding by meeting the complexities of life by finding the core of their Zen practice in the daily challenges of family, relationships, the workplace and in community.

Diane lectures, teaches, and leads workshops and retreats both in the Bay Area and internationally. She has been married to musician Jay Rizzetto for 36 years and has 5 grandchildren.


To learn more about the Bay Zen Center please visit their web site at