Sensei Al Genkai Kaszniak, Ph.D. serves as guiding teacher and spiritual director. He received Jukai, Dharma Transmission (Denbo), and Lay Entrustment (Denkai) from Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D., and he presently also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Upaya Zen Center. Al teaches within the lineage of Prajna Mountain Order established by Roshi Joan. He is a member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association and the White Plum Asanga. In addition to teaching and guiding practice in this sangha, Al teaches periodically at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe (e.g., in the recurring International Varela Symposium retreats, and the annual Being with Dying training for clinicians who provide end-of-life care), as well as at other centers, institutes, and conferences internationally.
Sensei Al is an emeritus professor at The University of Arizona (UA). He previously served as Director of the Neuropsychology, Emotion, and Meditation Laboratory; Faculty and Advisory Board member of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute; and professor in the departments of Psychology, Neurology, and Psychiatry at The UA. He also formerly served as Head of the Psychology Department, and as Director of the UA Center for Consciousness Studies. He Chaired the Steering Committee for the inaugural International Symposium for Contemplative Studies (April, 2012, Denver, CO), as well as the second symposium, held in Boston (October, 2014). He was previously Chief Academic Officer and interim CEO for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization dedicated to dialog and collaboration between science and contemplative traditions.