Teachers & Leadership

Abbot: Venerable Hoden

Venerable  Hoden (JP) / Bup Chon Sunim (KR) was ordained as a Samanera (monk) at Seonamsa Monastery in 2010 and as a Bhikkhu in 2016 through the Taego Order in Seoul, Korea.  He has previously worked as the Director of Education for the America-European Parish of the Taego order, as well as an Associate Professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

He currently acts as the Abbot for Dharma Gate Zen, and as Vice-Bishop for the Taego A-E Parish, teaching a mix of Japanese, Korean and Western Zen along with Japanese sword arts (Homonji Iaido). He holds a fifth degree in Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu was previously a licensed instructor in Japan (Shihandai) and a former branch manager (Birmingham and Clarkston branches of USTRI). He received a pseudonym in the Tamiya Ryu Iaijustu Lineage from the head of the Genwakai organization who presented him with the name “Gento”.

Hoden graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marygrove College in Detroit, and an Associates Degree in Buddhist Studies from Dong-Bang Seminary, South Korea.

Homonji Iaido: Cindy Sifonis Sensei

Sifonis Sensei works as our assistant instructor in our Homonji Iaido classes. She has practiced various “soft” and “hard” style martial arts over the last 20 years. In 2006, she began studying Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu, where she holds the rank of Yondan (4rd degree). She currently is also Sankyu in Homonji Iaido. She is currently an associate professor of cognitive psychology as well as the director of the new Bachelor of Liberal Studies program at Oakland University.

She received her Ph.D. in 1998 from Texas A&M University received further training in Cognitive Science at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Henjga (Dharma Student): JihJoong Bryan Maquire

JihJoong is a massage therapist for the past 10 years. He born and raised in Southwest Detroit and currently lives in Royal Oak with his wife and four girls. He studied fine art at Wayne State, and studied various forms of martial arts for 15 years, including Filipino Martial Arts and Jeet Kune Do.  As an avid animal lover, he has rescued everything from wild animals, newborn kittens, dogs to large reptiles.

Henjga (Dharma Student): BoHeng Aaron Cozadd

BoHeng is the Executive Chef for the Union Joints, currently involved with five restaurants. He was born in Garden City, Michigan but grew up in Clarkston. He attended  The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY.  Graduated with a Bachelors in Culinary Arts and restaurant management. His path includes overcoming addiction through the implementation of Buddhist path as the core of a program to lead a fulfilling and sober life.  He also is involved and is one of our leaders for the Refuge Recovery program at DGZ, Cross Fit and martial arts, including Aikido, Ryukyu Kempo and Homonji Iaido.

Henjga (Dharma Student): Seon Do Matt Lewis

Seon Do entered IBS and took precepts in the spring of 2015. He has been studying under Hoden Sunim since the summer of 2015. Seon Do is a professional artist and an Art teacher in the public schools. He is married to his wife Kelly, and has two kids, a son and a daughter and 3 dogs and resides in Saginaw Michigan.

Board of Directors:

President: George Sanders

Secretary: Susan McKinnon

Treasurer: Nancy Eastman

Board Member: Michael Opipari

Board Member: Christine Dieck

Board Member: Rosh Sillars

Board Member: Hoden Sunim