Tim Zentetsu Burkett, began practicing in spring 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi while attending Stanford University. At Suzuki's urging, Tim began a weekly sitting group on the San Francisco peninsula later that year, which Suzuki regularly attended. As this group grew in size, it was moved to the converted garage of a sangha member. Suzuki's talks to that group were later edited and published as "Zen Mind Beginner's Mind, which has become a classic text and the gateway for many to enter Zen practice. After completing his BA at Stanford, Tim attended the maiden practice period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1967. In 1970, Tim and his wife, Linda moved to Minnesota. He was an early member of MZMC and was ordained by Dainin Katagiri Roshi in 1978. Tim was president of MZMC from 1978 to 1983, recieved transmission from Karen Sunna in the Katagiri lineage in 2000, and succeeded Karen as guiding teacher in 2002. He is also a licensed Ph.D. psychologist and retired CEO of one of Minnesota's largest non-profit agencies. He and Linda have two grown children and two grandchildren.
Ted O'Toole first became interested in Buddhism in 1973, and began his formal practice in 1992 at the Zen Buddhist Temple in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following year he moved to Minnesota and became a member of MZMC, where he received the precepts from Shohaku Okamura. He was ordained as a priest by Tim Burkett in 2005, and received dharma transmission (permission to teach independently) from Tim in February of 2012. He has served MZMC in various roles, and is currently Assistant Guiding Teacher. He frequently leads practice periods and meditation retreats, and has taught various classes, including Basics of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, Creative Writing as Buddhist Practice, and Zen and the Art of Public Speaking. Ted grew up on a farm in North Dakota, and often incorporates his early experiences into his dharma talks. He has done construction, packing plant, and factory work, and currently works in the legal profession. He and his wife Kathy Guthrie live in St. Paul, and enjoy their extended family, as well as gardening, house projects, biking, cross-country skiing, and writing. It is a great joy, Ted says, to teach the dharma and build sangha, and to be supported in turn by a kind, vibrant, and exciting community.