Contact Peg


Peg Syverson, ph.d.

Senior Resident Teacher

Peg has been studying and practicing Zen since 1966. She was a student of Joko Beck from 1990 until Joko’s death in 2011; Joko originally authorized her to teach. From 2001 to 2006, she also trained with Flint Sparks at Austin Zen Center in the formal Japanese tradition of Suzuki Roshi, and was ordained as a Soto Zen priest there in 2004. She had formal priest training in residence for six months at Austin Zen Center and six months at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, under the guidance of the Abbots, Jan Chozen Bays and Hogen Bays. In 2014 she received dharma transmission with Kosho McCall in the Suzuki Roshi lineage.

In March, 1995, having moved to Austin from San Diego, Peg launched a Zen sitting group based on Joko Beck's model, initially called Live Oak Zen Meditation group and later named Ordinary Mind Zen-Austin. The group met once a week on Sunday mornings at Live Oak Unitarian Church, and then after "camping out" in several other locations, finally moved to its present location at 913 East 38th St. in September 2005, when it was formally incorporated as a 501 (c)3 non-profit. At that time we were able to expand the offerings to include daily morning meditation, Wednesday evening meditation, classes, one-day sittings, inquiry group, and retreats.

In 2006, with Joko's authorization, Peg began formally teaching and offering individual practice discussion. She was delighted when Flint Sparks joined the group as a senior teacher a year later. In May, 2009, Ordinary Mind Zen-Austin officially changed its name to Appamada. You can read more about this name here.

Peg is also an Emeritus Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing. She taught courses such as Zen Rhetoric, Non-violent Rhetoric, Information Architecture, and Knowledge Ecologies, for undergraduates and graduate students. She was the Director of the Undergraduate Writing Center, which provides one-on-one consultations for 11,000 student writers each year.

Peg has formal training and certification as a facilitator in these areas:

  • Right Use of Power (Authorized Teacher Trainer)

  • Appreciative Inquiry

  • Spiral Dynamics

  • Three-level Hakomi training with Ron Kurtz, Flint Sparks, and Donna Martin

  • Level I of the training for Internal Family Systems with the Center for Self-Leadership.

  • Board Member for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association

  • American Zen Teachers Assocation ( AZTA) member

  • Lay Zen Teachers Association (LZTA) member

Her son Ben, daughter-in-law Susan, and granddaughter Elliot live in Chicago.

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Why yes, I do have a granddaughter, Elliot Dwyer Syverson—thanks for asking!

Why yes, I do have a granddaughter, Elliot Dwyer Syverson—thanks for asking!