Our Teachers

Robert Aitken Roshi

Robert Aitken Roshi

Robert Aitken Roshi (1917-2010), SZC's founding teacher, was introduced to Zen Buddhism while detained in a Japanese internment camp during World War 11. In 1959, he and his wife Anne established the Diamond Sangha, a Zen Buddhist society. A student of Nakagawa Soen Roshi, Yasutani Hakuun Roshi and Yamada Roshi, Aitken was authorised to teach in l974. He led sesshin in Sydney from 1979.

The author of thirteen books, Aitken was writing up to his death, and this final book is currently in the process of publication. Aitken Roshi was a pioneer in establishing Zen Buddhism in the West, never finding any separation between his vision of justice and the Zen teachings of complete interdependence, He co-founded the Buddhist Peace Fellowship in l978. You can learn more about Robert Aitken at RobertAitken.net.

Subhana Barzaghi Roshi

Subhana Barzaghi Roshi

Subhana Barzaghi, the senior resident teacher of the Sydney Zen Centre, has been practising meditation for over 20 years. She has studied in Australia and California with John Tarrant, in Japan with Yamada Koun Roshi, and in Australia and Hawaii with Robert Aitken Roshi, the founder of the Diamond Sangha. Subhana received Dharma transmission from Aitken Roshi and John Tarrant in 1996 at the Gorrick's Run Zendo.

Subhana Barzaghi is a qualified and experienced psychotherapist, a mother of two children, and a grandmother. She was a founding member of the 'Bodhi Farm' community in the Northern Rivers, where she lived for 20 years. She was also the founder of the Kuan Yin Zen Centre in Lismore. Subhana presently lives in Sydney with her partner. Subhana is a Registered Religious Marriage Celebrant, and also teaches in the Vipassana Insight Meditation tradition. She leads workshops, Zen sesshins and Vipassana retreats at a variety of centres in Australia, New Zealand, and India.

Gillian Coote Roshi

Gillian Coote Roshi

Gillian Coote, co-ordinating teacher of the Sydney Zen Centre, met Robert Aitken Roshi in l980, regularly attending his annual sesshin in Sydney as well as training periods and sesshin in Hawai'i. She also studied with John Tarrant and Subhana Barzaghi, from whom she received dharma transmission in June 2004 at Kodoji, Temple of the Ancient Ground.

Gillian has been involved with developing sangha at Sydney Zen Centre since the early '80's, organising sesshin, editing SZC's journal, Mind Moon Circle, and building Kodoji at Gorricks Run with her husband, architect/builder Tony Coote, over many years, inspired by their experience of sangha building at the Ring of Bone Zendo in California in l982. She trained with Joanna Macy and for fifteen years was the co-ordinator of the Sydney branch of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. She has practised with Thich Nhat Hanh, attending his artists' retreat in Ojai, CA and joining his pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India and Nepal; she directed and produced 'The Awakening Bell', a documentary film made during his visit to Sydney.

Gillian is a social documentary filmmaker, writer, grandmother and bush regenerator.

Paul Maloney Roshi

Paul Maloney Roshi

Paul Maloney began his Zen studies in the late 1950s, and formal zazen in 1966. He went to Japan in 1968 and attended his first sesshin under the direction of Nakagawa Soen Roshi in December 1968. He continued his Zen daily zen practice while studying Aikido and the classical Japanese martial art of Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo, and attended weekend zazenkai at Engakuji in Kita Kamakura. Returning to Australia in 1973 he, together with Leigh Davison and others, formed a sitting group that evolved into the Sydney Zen Centre sangha. He began formal koan study with Robert Aitken Roshi in 1979, and after continued with John Tarrant Roshi and Subhana Barzaghi Roshi. He is the teacher of the SZC Blue Mountains group, and the SZC Canberra Group.

He retired, in 2008, from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Technology Sydney, where he had been a Senior Lecturer and Director of the International Engineering Program since 1995. Prior to that, he had held the position of Assistant Director of the Japan Information and Culture Centre of the Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney since returning from Japan in 1973.

He has degrees in Asian history and Western philosophy. He has been a student of classical Japanese martial arts for over forty years. He now teaches Shindo Muso Ryu Jodo, Kasumi Shinto Ryu Kenjutsu and related weapon systems in Sydney and Canberra. His wife, Yayoi, is a teacher of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, chanoyu, which she has been practicing for over fifty years.

Maggie Gluek Roshi

Maggie Gluek was appointed an apprentice teacher in the Diamond Sangha in 2003. Since that time she has been part of the collegial teaching team at the Sydney Zen Centre. She has co-taught sesshin with Subhana and Gillian Coote, offers dokusan at Annandale when the opportunity presents itself and gives dharma talks at zazenkai, including with the Canberra Zen Group. In April 2015 Maggie received Dharma transmission from Subhana Barzaghi Roshi.

She began Zen practise in 1983 at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre, while on leave in her home town. Upon returning to Australia, she found the Sydney Zen Centre and took up formal koan study with Robert Aitken Roshi. She continued her study with John Tarrant and completed it with Subhana Barzaghi. She has long experience of leadership in the sangha. Maggie has degrees in literature and psychology. Currently she works as a bush regenerator. She is married with two adult children.


SZC teachers offer dokusan (interviews) and teisho (dharma talks) and conduct jukai (Precept) ceremonies. They teach at Annandale, in the Blue Mountains, Canberra and Kodoji in sesshin (retreats). The two resident teachers. Subhana and Gillian, are financially supported in this work by members of the group.

In 1999 the Diamond Sangha Teachers Circle created and publicly released an Ethics Agreement. In it they established a clear and specific set of minimum expectations to which they would hold ourselves accountable now and in the future. See also the SZC Collegiate Teaching Model.

Sydney Zen Centre also provides a training-ground for Diamond Sangha teachers appointed by Subhana Barzaghi.

Allan Marett

Allan Marett was appointed an apprentice teacher in the Diamond Sangha in 2011. He has co-taught sesshin with Subhana Barzaghi, Paul Maloney and Maggie Gluek. He also offers dokusan at Annandale from time to time and gives dharma talks at zazenkai. He also hosts a regular early morning sitting group at his home in Ashfield.

Allan began his formal Zen training under Yamada Koun Roshi in 1976. Shortly after the establishment of the SZC, he became a student of Robert Aitken. Subsequently he has studied with John Tarrant, Subhana Barzaghi and other Diamond Sangha teachers. He has a particular interest in pilgrimage and regularly walks the Henro pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan.

In 2007, Allan retired from the post of Professor of Musicology at the University of Sydney, where apart from a period as Professor of Music at the University of Hong Kong in the 1990s, he had taught since 1978. His areas of academic interest include Sino-Japanese music history, Australian Aboriginal music and Japanese Noh theatre.