Mary Bernau-Eigen, Secretary
Mary grew up in West Allis attending a Catholic church and school. She came into adulthood in the 1960's while a student at UW - Madison and involved herself in the social issues of the times. In her late 20's she was drawn to pick up the book Autobiography of a Yogi That book became the doorway to the study of Eastern philosophy and the practice of Yoga. This led her to the writings of Alan Watts which introduced her to Zen and the practice of meditation which she began on her own.
In the late 1970's a friend in Milwaukee invited her to a talk and practice session with Katagiri Roshi when he visited Milwaukee. She then practiced with Tozen Akiyama and Diane Martin before the establishment of MZC. During this time in her life she became familiar with the work of Carl Jung and psychoanalysis which supported her zazen practice. Mary met Thich Nhat Hahn in 1989, received initiation from him and started the Mindfulness Center at her home with her husband Chuck, which continued for 5 years. Both she and her husband have also attended vipassana retreats. It became important to her to study in a more formal focused manner so she rejoined the Milwaukee Zen Center. She became a board member this year and will serve as the board's secretary.
Mary is a Nurse Practitioner, now in private practice working in a complimentary medicine field as a Cranial-Sacral Therapist. Her husband is also a member of the Zen Center. They have an involved family life. Her family is both multi-cultural and multi-religious. Her hobbies include playing with her grandchildren, and singing and drawing.
Linda Gee works as a free-lance art director in the Milwaukee area. After her early exploration into meditation in the mid-1990s, she came to the Milwaukee Zen Center, in 1998, in search of formal practice and fellow practitioners. She liked the fit. The traditionalism and rigor of Soto Zen suited her, its lack of expectations, its goalless-ness.
For the last 14 years, Linda has woven herself into life at the Milwaukee Zen Center. She has served on its board and provided graphic design and illustrations both for its newsletter and its website. Finally, she looks forward to many more years at the MZC, to continuing her practice, and working to support its robust future.
Peter Tojaku Johnson
Peter has been an active member of the Milwaukee Zen Center since 1998, having taken the precepts in 2001. Professionally, for the past 35 years, he has served the Milwaukee/Waukesha communities as a teacher and school principal. In retirement, he continues his work with area school district administrators as a professional educational coach. Personal interests include wilderness camping, sailing, and golf. He is a published writer and loves to draw and do sculptural carving.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Pete has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In his late twenties and early thirties he was active with the Himalayan Institute headed by Swami Rama. During this period he learned mediation and yoga techniques, and this led to a lifelong interest in Eastern philosophy.
Pete held various purchasing and materials management positions, working for several of Milwaukee’s largest manufacturing companies including Schlitz Container, Allis Chalmers and Heil, as well as several small companies. He resided in southern California in the early 90s and his job involved traveling throughout China.
For the past five years he has taken a number of courses on Buddhism and Eastern Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin’s Waukesha branch. He took lay precepts in 2008 at the Milwaukee Zen Center and since then held various board positions including service as Treasurer and as a member of the Executive Committee.
Susan Winecke, President