Ezra Bayda

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Ezra Bayda
TitleZen Teacher
Born1944 (age 77–78)
SchoolOrdinary Mind School
EducationRutgers University

Ezra Bayda is an American author[1][2] and Zen teacher.[3] He was the teacher at the Zen Center of San Diego,[4] a sangha in Pacific Beach, San Diego, California, and with the Santa Rosa Zen Group in Santa Rosa, California,[5] from 1998 to 2019. He is a member of the Ordinary Mind Zen School.[6]


Born in 1944 in Atlantic City, New Jersey,[citation needed] Bayda studied philosophy at Rutgers University.[citation needed]

His early training was in the Gurdjieff tradition, in a community led by Robert S. de Ropp. In 1970 he began studying Zen meditation, and began formal Zen practice in 1978.[7] After studying with Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi and Jakusho Kwong Roshi, he began working with Joko Beck in 1992. He received dharma transmission at the Zen Center San Diego in 1998.[8] In 2006, Joko Beck revoked his transmission.[9]

His writings have been mentioned by John Welwood[10] and he was cited as an influence in Pema Chödrön's 2001 book The Places That Scare You: A Guide To Fearlessness.[11]

Zen Center San Diego[edit]

Bayda and his wife and business partner, Elizabeth Hamilton, taught at the Zen Center of San Diego until August 2019; he also established a sitting group in Santa Rosa, California, the Santa Rosa Zen Group.[12] In July 2019, the Board of Trustees of the Zen Center of San Diego received claims of sexual abuse by Bayda and suspended him from teaching.[13] They hired Faith Trust Institute to investigate the claims, and after Faith Trust Institute presented its findings, the Board unanimously voted to remove Bayda from his position, stating “there was credible evidence that Ezra committed multiple instances of sexual misconduct with more than one student in violation of ZCSD’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct and the White Plum Asanga’s Code of Ethical Conduct.”[14] In May 2020, two of his former students filed a civil lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court, alleging "gross acts of sexual assault and battery."[15][16] Bayda and the two students settled out of court in 2022.[15]


  • Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life. Shambhala Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57062-856-4
  • At Home in the Muddy Water. Shambhala Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-57062-947-1
  • Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts). Wisdom Publications, 2005. ISBN 978-0861712748
  • Zen Heart: Simple Advice for Living with Mindfulness and Compassion. Shambhala Publications, 2008. ISBN 9781590305430
  • Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment. Shambhala Publications, 2010. ISBN 9781590308257
  • The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear. Shambhala Publications, 2014. ISBN 1611800927
  • Aging for Beginners. Wisdom Publications, 2018. ISBN 1614294771


  1. ^ Ford, James Ishmael (2006). Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen. Boston: Wisdom Publications. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-86171-509-1.
  2. ^ MacLeod, Melvin (2004). The Best Buddhist Writing. Shambhala. p. 253. ISBN 978-1590301890.
  3. ^ Brussat, Mary Ann. "The Best Spiritual Books of 2010". Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  4. ^ Brussat, Fredrick. "Living Spiritual Teachers Project: Ezra Bayda". Archived from the original on May 18, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  5. ^ Fintushel, Eliot. "Something to Offer". Archived from the original on August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  6. ^ "Zen as nothing special: Charlotte Joko Beck and the Ordinary Mind School of Zen". Lionsroar.com. Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  7. ^ Tebbe, Adam. "Ezra Shinkoku Bayda". Archived from the original on July 26, 2012. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
  8. ^ "Living Spiritual Teachers Project". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Lachs, Stuart (August 26, 2010). "STUART LACHS: Interview with non duality magazine". Non Duality Magazine. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  10. ^ Welwood, John (2007). Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationship: Healing the Wound of the Heart. Trumpeter. p. 182. ISBN 978-1590303863.
  11. ^ Chodron, Pema (2002). The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. Shambhala Classics. p. ix. ISBN 978-1570629211.
  12. ^ "Ezra Bayda on "What Blocks Happiness"". Lionsroar.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Announcement Concerning Litigation Against the Zen Center". Zen Center San Diego. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  14. ^ The 2019 ZCSD Board of Trustees (October 22, 2019). ZCSD Announcement: Findings and Meeting Update (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 3, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  15. ^ a b Agsar, Wendy Biddlecombe (June 28, 2022). "Lawsuit Against Ezra Bayda and Zen Center San Diego Ends With Settlement". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Archived from the original on August 2, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  16. ^ "Bates vs Bayda". UniCourt. Archived from the original on July 3, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2022.