Rev. Daigan Gaither began Buddhist practice in 1995 in the Vipassana (Insight) tradition, and then began to study Zen in 2003 with Ryushin Paul Haller Roshi. He received Lay Ordination in 2006 when he was given the name Daigan or “Great Vow”, and received Priest Ordination in July 2011. Daigan speaks internationally on a variety of topics particularly around politics, gender, sexuality, social justice and their intersections with the Dharma. He also sits or has sat on a number of boards and committees that serve community needs and further social justice causes.
Born in April 1966, Daigan identifies as a white, cis-gendered, disabled, queer male and prefers he/him pronouns. In 2009 he co-created the Queer Dharma group at San Francisco Zen Center, and he chaired the Central Cultural Awareness and Inclusivity Committee there from 2012 to 2016.
Daigan has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from San Francisco State University, and an MA in Buddhist Studies (with a chaplaincy certificate and a certificate in Soto Zen Buddhism) from the Graduate Theological Union and the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Daigan has 30 years clean and sober, and his work, practice and free time include many hours devoted to public service and community building in a variety of ways, including his work as one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and previously with Zen Hospice Project. In his leisure time Daigan is a voracious reader, and enjoys a good meal with friends. He loves to cook, travel, wander, and learn. He lived at San Francisco Zen Center’s Urban Temple (City Center) in San Francisco, CA for more than 10 years.