Local Priests and Teachers

Disciples and Priest
The Southwind Sangha is led by priests, disciples, and teachers who have been ordained by Sensei Taiun Elliston, abbot of the Atlanta Sōtō Zen Center. They also oversee the finances and administrative functions with their service on the board of directors. Each contributes her or his services and time and does not receive financial compensation.

Gekko Kathryn Riley

Gekko Kathryn Riley

Title: Priest
Dharma Name: Gekko (Soft Moonlight)
Kathryn Riley has been sitting in the Sōtō Zen tradition since 1981. Her unofficial title is: “Sitter Who Likes Sitting with People Who Like to Sit.”

Un Ku Nento Don Riley

Un Ku Nento Riley

Title: Novice Priest
Dharma Name: Un Ku Nento (Burning Torch)
Don Riley is a Soto Zen priest who has been actively engaged with the Southwind Sangha and Buddhism for nine years. He is a member of the Abbot’s Advisory Council, the Silent Thunder Order, and the Board of Directors of the Southwind Sangha. He has taught introductory sessions, led retreats, attended extended retreats in Atlanta and Nashville, given Dharma talks, and led discussion groups.


Reiun Sanki Harold Schlechtweg

Title:  Novice Priest
Dharma Name: Reiun (Spirit Cloud) Sanki (Three Devotions)
Sanki Harold Schlechtweg first became interested in Zen Buddhism in 1968, while a US Marine stationed on Okinawa. In later years, he read works by D.T. Suzuki, Alan Watts, and Shunryu Suzuki. Although he attempted a sporadic home practice, his work in rural areas of eastern Kentucky, West Virginia, and southern Ohio, left little time for bodhichitta and, in any case, Zen teachers were not abundant in those regions. Sanki moved to Wichita, Kansas in 1995. After ten years, he sought out the Southwind Sangha and began formal practice. He is eternally grateful to those who have worked diligently to create a space for practice in our community. Sanki first sat with the Southwind Sangha in 2006, becoming a regular in 2009, and taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, in September, 2010 (Jukai Tokudo). Sanki took Zaike Tokudo vows in December, 2013,  and is a member of the Silent Thunder Order (STO).  Sanki became a novice priest in May, 2018.  He received his “family name” Reiun from Taiun Michael Elliston during his Shukke Tokudo priest ordination ceremony.  Sanki’s personal practice is Dogen Zen. His interests include poetry, the Dharma, and walking mountain paths.  He is currently Practice Leader for the Southwind Sangha.

To learn more about our teacher, Rev Zenkai Taiun Elliston, click here.