Zenkei Blanche Hartman Roshi (1926–2016) was a Soto Zen teacher in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi and a revered elder figure in American Zen. She spent two terms as abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and was in fact the first woman abbot of a Zen center in America. She’s an expert in rakusu-sewing (those bib-like things you see Zen Practitioners wear that represent the Buddha’s robe), and she’s been particularly known for her attention to women’s issues in Buddhism and Zen. – shambala.com
Blanche and Lou [husband Louis Hartman] practiced Zen first at Berkeley Zendo with Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi, then at San Francisco Zen Center with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Dainin Katagiri Roshi, and Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi. In 1972, they moved from Berkeley to Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, beginning a lifelong commitment to Zen practice, which led them to Green Gulch Farm and San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center. Blanche was ordained by Zentatsu Roshi in 1977, receiving the name Shunbo Zenkei, “Spring Full Moon, Inconceivable Joy.” She received dharma transmission from Sojun Roshi in 1988, and in 1996, she became the first woman to serve as Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center.
Blanche studied Nyoho-e, the practice of sewing Zen ceremonial robes, with Kasai Joshin Sensei, in the lineage of Sawaki Kodo Roshi. She taught this unique form of Zen practice to hundreds of students at Zen Center, and played an important role in establishing the practice in North America. – Rebecca Hartman Huenink on SFCZ.org