Daishin Mark Nelson, Soto Zen Priest

Daishin Mark NelsonSoto Zen Lineage

Daishin Mark Nelson is a Soto Zen priest.  He has taken vows in the lineage streams of both Taizan Maezumi Roshi and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Mark’s present day spiritual friend and ordination teacher is John Bailes, the founder of One Heart Zen in Somerville, MA. John is a Dharma Successor to Norman Fischer.


For nearly 30–years, Mark has explored how to manifest the Buddha’s teachings in everyday life. In this spirit of exploration, he has trained in the Soto Zen tradition.  Additionally, he has also studied in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, and in the Thai Forest Tradition of Theravada Buddhism.

Everyday Zen

Mark is a veteran of the US Navy and holds degrees in philosophy (Utah), sociology (UC Berkeley), and labor relations (UMass-Amherst). Back in the days when Mark was an active member of Plumber’s and Pipefitters Local 140-Utah, the union from which he retired in 2013, Mark was a licensed Master Plumber and certified pipe welder.  From 2001 until his retirement, Mark was the lead union organizer and labor relations specialist for Local 140.

Today, Mark is the Spiritual Leader of Sweeping Heart Zen. SHZ is a growing Sangha that meets at the Gloucester UU Church. Furthermore, Mark has an abiding interest in the practice of non-violence. Consequently, he is a student of the Alternatives to Violence Project, of Marshall Rosenberg’s practice of Nonviolent Communication, and of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on nonviolent communication.

Finally, Mark teaches English to adult speakers of other languages (ESOL) in Salem, Massachusetts.

Daishin Mark Nelson is an associate member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. szba.org/teachers/daishin-mark-nelson/