Ven. Wonji Dharma, DMin is the Founder of the Five Mountain Zen Order and the President / Chancellor of Buddha Dharma University. He is a fully ordained Bhiksu, having taken the Dharmagupta Vinaya precepts with H.T. Thich An Duc (Ven. Dr. Suhita Dharma).
Soensanim began practicing Advaita Vedānta as well as Vipassana Meditation in 1986 with Swami Chaitanya Siraj and took refuge vows with his teacher that same year. Swami Chaitanya Siraj had studied in an Indian Ashram for many years and his path of teaching was wide and open to all of the Wisdom Traditions. Soensanim’s direction has been informed by Zen since his college days of studying Psychology. Wanting to experience the direct experience of koan study he eventually discovered Zen Master Seung Sahn and the Kwan Um School of Zen in 1989 and began practicing regularly at Dharma Zen Center in Los Angeles.
Throwing himself headlong into Zen practice for five years he received sanction and encouragement from Zen Master Seung Sahn to open the Huntington Beach Zen Center on August 14, 1993, where Soensanim was installed as Abbot by Zen Master Seung Sahn.
Soensanim was ordained by Zen Master Seung Sahn as a Dharma teacher in 1995 and received teaching authorization from Zen Master Ji Bong, (an independent heir of Zen Master Seung Sahn), in April, 2006. Having obtained a BA in Psychology from California State University, he earned his Masters (M.Div) and Doctorate (D.Min) degrees from BSI-LA before becoming a primary staff member. Ven. Dr. Wonji has practiced with more than thirty different Zen Buddhist masters during his time and maintains an eclectic approach to Buddhist Teachings and spirituality in general.