Sensei Amala Wrightson was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1958, and worked in theater before taking up full-time Zen training. She began Zen practice in 1982 after attending a workshop led by Roshi Philip Kapleau in Sweden. In 1986 she became a student of Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, Roshi Kapleau’s Dharma heir and then newly-appointed Abbot of the Rochester Zen Center. Amala-sensei began full-time residential training in Rochester in 1989, shortly after completing an M.A. in Italian at Auckland University, and was ordained in 1999. From 1996 to 2003 she was the Center’s Head of Zendo (head priest in charge of training) working closely with Roshi Kjolhede, offering daisan (private one-to-one meditation instruction) to Zen Center members and leading shorter sesshin (intensive retreats). During her final year she was also acting spiritual director of the Center while Roshi Kjolhede was on sabbatical. 


In late 2003, upon completion of formal koan training under Roshi Kjolhede, Amala-sensei returned to resettle in New Zealand and, since then, has dedicated her time to the creation of a place for authentic Zen practice and training in Auckland. She was given formal permission to teach by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede in 2004, and was sanctioned as a full Dharma heir in a ceremony held in Auckland in 2012. She continues to spend some time each year at the Rochester Zen Center and is a member of the American Zen Teachers' Association (AZTA). 


Louisville Zen Center operates as much as possible on dana (or giving). We are run entirely by volunteers - our group leader, zendo monitors, board of directors, workers, advisors, AND guest teachers receive no compensation for serving our sangha. The Center reimburses teachers’ travel expenses, and provides meals and housing while they’re here. We ask that students give dana to the teacher as a direct expression of gratitude and appreciation for her time and for the teaching received. Checks can be made payable to "Charlotte Wrightson" ("Amala" is her ordained name.  It means "Without Stains"). You may also make a secure contribution by debit or credit card via Paypal at the button below.  Please indicate that the gift is for Charlotte Wrightson.  Note: Donations made for a specific individual are not tax deductible for the giver.

​​​​​​​​​Guest Teacher - October 9 - 14, 2019

Sensei Amala Wrightson, Spiritual Director, Auckland Zen Center


​Louisville Zen Center is honored to welcome back Sensei Amala Wrightson in October 2019.  In service to the wider community, Sensei will lead several events.  Most will be open to the public. Her schedule includes daily morning sittings at Heart of Perfect Wisdom Zendo (HPWZ) plus:


​Thursday, October 10

​Friday, October 11

  • Sangha social activity (private event)

Saturday, October 12

  • Half-Day Introduction to Zen Meditation Workshop - time and location to be announced

Sunday, October 13

  • Zen Retreat at HPWZ with teisho and dokusan​ (one-to-one private meditation instruction with Sensei)