Shundo David Haye, Zen Priest

San Francisco, CA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

I am a zen priest. I was ordained in 2009 and became a teacher in 2012. I bring to the table 15 years of residential zen practice, including five years of intense monastic practice at Tassajara, and many silent retreats. Now, I am bringing those years of experience out into the world to be of benefit to all beings. There are three main fields of expertise I offer on Thumbtack: I love the formal aspects of zen, but I also want to bring meditation to people who will never set foot in a temple. I teach at tech companies, yoga studios, retreat centers, schools, colleges and the county jail. I enjoy introducing people to this transformative practice, in whichever style is most appropriate to their needs. My years of experience means that I know how to navigate the highs and lows of a meditation practice and can advise people on whatever they may encounter on the path. One of the most rewarding things I have been able to do as a priest is to conduct weddings for a number of couples over the past few years. I would be happy to be an officiant for any couple who would like a Buddhist or non-denominational wedding ceremony. Much of my work as a teacher has been counseling people as a spiritual advisor. If you would like to meet with me one-on-one to discuss issues you might be having and how a zen approach might help you, please be in touch.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

Studying this practice has helped me to be present for each moment and each situation, so I can show up completely to what and who is in front of me. The three fields I offer are all about changing your life for the better, and it always feels amazing to be able to offer people opportunities to do that.
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San Francisco, CA 94114


Times hired on Thumbtack



11 Reviews
  • Maga R. Mar 23, 2017
    wonderful counsel
    The kind gesture of lending a ear, of listening, and encouragement.
  • Kate G. Jan 9, 2017
    Wedding Officiant
    Verified Review
    Shundo helped make our day wonderful
    Shundo officiated our wedding at City Hall in San Francisco. We spoke with him by phone (we were traveling), and then met with him prior to the day. He helped us think about how to structure our non-traditional wedding, provided helpful resources about vows, and crafted some lovely statements that opened and closed our ceremony. Our guests also commented on what a wonderful presence Shundo provided. His thoughtfulness and calm, kind and encouraging presence helped make our day everything we hoped it could be.
  • Maggie C. Nov 14, 2016
    Calm in the eye of the storm.
    Shundo emanates warmth, tranquility, and serenity; having him in our office to lead weekly meditations is like finding the eye of the storm. Often challenging to *make* the time to attend meditation, I had the awareness to realize those times where I absolutely couldn't attend were the times I needed it most. The days where I do make the time to attend, I leave feeling centered and ready to gracefully handle whatever may come my way. Thank you, Shundo!
  • Melanie V. Jul 20, 2016
    Non-Religious Wedding Officiant
    Verified Review
    Matthew and I asked Shundo to officiate our non-religious wedding ceremony which was held this past July 15th at the Rockefeller Lodge in San Pablo and it was a tremendous success! Shundo was extremely accommodating, calm, helpful and generous throughout the whole process. My family is French so he was able to arrange to do part of the ceremony in my native language which was much appreciated. His French speaking skills are excellent! In short, Shundo is a real gem and we highly recommend him to anyone looking for an outstanding officiant! Matt & Mel
  • Andrea A. Mar 18, 2016
    Wedding Officiant
    Verified Review
    Shundo met us at the overlook point of the Golden Gate Bridge and married us in front of our children. It was small, intimate and very romantic. Thank you for making our day perfect Shundo.
  • Jason S. Jan 19, 2016
    Shundo officiated my wedding in 2014. He worked with my husband and myself to plan the ceremony and provided excellent guidance. We are both Soto Zen Buddhists and had a ceremony in that tradition. Shundo provided all the tools and instruments required for the ceremony, e.g. altar, candles, incense, bells, etc. The ceremony included chanting the Heart Sutra, the precepts, and our vows. Shundo was supportive, a great help and great friend. The ceremony was professional, formal and at the same time intimate and welcoming. The ceremony was very intimate and our guests felt included and remarked at how impressed they were with the entire wedding. Shundo was flexible and worked-well with others helping us to plan the event (photographers, caterers, etc) while at the same time ensuring that the ceremony maintained its correct forms and perspective. We had another friend, also a Zen priest, and Shundo was able to include him in the ceremony. We highly recommend him to officiate, particularly weddings in the Soto Zen tradition.
  • Kelly M. Jan 18, 2016
    Shundo officiated my wedding in San Francisco in 2015. He worked with my husband and I to make sure the overall ceremony (based on traditional buddhist text) incorporated our voices and values, including our own vows. Shundo brought all that was needed, and helped arrange a small altar, candles, and bells. He looks the part of a zen priest, dressed in a full black robe, shaved head, and a nice english accent to boot. The ceremony was truly intimate, and Shundo was a solid and supportive presence throughout.
  • Mike F. Dec 21, 2015
    Can't say enough good things about Shundo! His meditation instruction has been instrumental in creating and maintaining my own daily mindfulness practice. This, in turn, has made me happier and more productive in busy SF life. Shundo brings wisdom born of deep experience with his subject -- something you might expect in a Zen monk and priest. But better still, he's fun and approachable! Altogether, Shundo's experience, groundedness, and genuine warmth separate him from the pack.
  • Alex M. Dec 8, 2015
    Shundo is an amazing teacher and incredibly perceptive. His teachings are warm and he seems to know exactly how to provide guidance either through words or actions. If you have the opportunity to participate in a guided meditation, spiritual discussion, or simply a street side conversation with him, you will leave with a little more space in your heart and mind.
  • Jordan K. Dec 6, 2015
    I've had the pleasure of studying under Shundo for 3 years now. His approach is very engaging and often helps me to see things from new perspectives, which I find extremely valuable. I'm thrilled to see that he is offering his services to a larger market and excited for others to meet and work with him as well.
  • Mike B. Dec 2, 2015
    Shundo is an amazing teacher and a Zen Priest. I've studied with Shundo for over 4 years and have always found Shundo's approach insightful, down to earth and very engaging. If you have a chance to take Shundo's class or a workshop - do it!


What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
For meditation, I will ascertain what style the person is most interested in, and will shape my instruction accordingly. For weddings, meeting the couple ahead of time to get a sense of who they are and how they relate to each other is a valuable step. I am happy to advise on setting up a ceremony and helping to write the vows if that is needed.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have fifteen years of residential zen training at San Francisco Zen Center, including five years of intense monastic training at Tassajara, and many silent retreats. Important steps on the path have been ordaining as a priest in 2009, and training as head monk in 2012. I have been leading groups and teaching for more than five years. I co-led Zen Center's Coming of Age program for seventh grade boys, co-founded and led the Young Urban Zen at Zen Center. I have given talks to groups ranging from four people to more than a hundred, have taught workshops at Zen Center, Green Gulch, Tassajara and Santa Cruz; I have met with many students individually as well as in groups. More recently I have been leading regular groups and offering one-off sessions at various tech companies, start-up spaces, colleges, high schools and middle schools, yoga studios, retreat centers and the county jail, where I volunteer a couple of times a month.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I loved zen from my earliest days of practice, and as the years went by came to realize that I wanted to be able to share the benefits and joys of it with others. Ordaining as a priest was a natural step for me to take. As a wedding officiant, my first few ceremonies were for friends, and friends of friends.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have worked a lot with people in their twenties and thirties, but have also taught in middle schools, high schools and colleges, and to diverse age ranges. As a wedding officiant I have performed a couple of same-sex marriages, and many of the couples I have married have been multi-cultural.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
For the past year I have been leading a series of mindful hikes around the city, where we explore hidden corners of San Francisco, largely in silence, and meditate at auspicious locations.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
For me the personal connection is all important. Good meditation teachers have presence and groundedness that people respond to. Hopefully the teachers are putting the teaching above their own personal agenda. There are a lot of people starting to teach who do not have so many years of experience, so they would not be so helpful guiding people through difficulties or other situations they may encounter through meditation or spiritual practice. For a couple seeking a wedding officiant, feeling comfortable with that person is paramount. You have enough stresses to deal with as you prepare for your big day. My line is always that it is your day, and you are the people that need to be happy with how it unfolds. My meditation practice helps me feel grounded in these big moments, and that can help the couple to stay calmer as well.