Ellen Birx received a B.S. in education from Northern Arizona University and a B.S. in nursing from Texas Woman's University.
She completed a master's degree in psychiatric/mental health nursing from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in psychiatric/mental health nursing from the University of Texas at Austin.
For the past 28 years she has been a professor in the School of Nursing at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
In addition to her book, Healing Zen: Buddhist Wisdom on Compassion, Caring, and Caregiving - for Yourself and Others (Penguin Compass, 2003), Ellen has co-authored Waking Up Together: Intimate Partnership on the Spiritual Path with Charles.
Charles Birx received a B.S. from Cornell University. He completed his M.S. and Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction with a specialty in remedial reading at Northern Arizona University.
For many years, he worked as a reading specialist in public schools. For 13 years he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
Charles and Ellen began practicing Zen meditation in 1974. They received Dharma transmission in 1998 and inka in 2014 from Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy in the White Plum lineage.
They are members of the American Zen Teachers Association and the White Plum Asanga. They are co-founders of New River Zen Community in Radford, Virginia. They frequently speak at Zen retreats, conferences, and at community organizations locally and across the country.