greeceFirst Sesshin in Greece in Suzuki Roshi Lineage

Bernd Bender, guiding teacher of the Akazien Zendo in Berlin, has been assisting Zen Center Athens, who recently held their first sesshin. In spite of the difficult financial situation in Greece, numerous participants were able to attend due to successful fundraising through GoFundMe.

Bernd writes:

“Through your kindness and generosity Zen Center Athens completed the first sesshin in the Suzuki Roshi tradition on the island of Serifos in Greece. All together 15 people were able to attend because of your donations. We are deeply grateful to those who contributed. To share this experience, we created a blog with images and voices from the participants. This is our humble gift to you.
You can access the blog here:

We hope this is just the beginning of Zen practice on Serifos. Future retreats in Athens and on the island will follow. We would be more than happy to welcome you to practice with us. If you’d like to stay informed on our activities, the schedule for 2016 will soon be available here: <
May you be happy and content in your life. Feeling deeply connected in the Dharma I bow to you in the name of the Athens sangha.
With respect and gratitude,

Bernd Bender

New Fellowship Program

Fellowship Program

Fellowship Program

San Francisco Zen Center and Branching Streams have developed a new Fellowship Program to help support sangha leadership through Visiting Teacher Fellowships and Sangha Support Fellowships. Read more

Profile: Moñtana de Silencio in Columbia

The Dharma of Peace, the Mountain of Silence: Practicing Zen in Medellín, Colombia

Montaña de Silencio (“Mountain of Silence” in English) is a community of Buddhist practitioners inspired by the Soto Zen tradition, and also by the Theravada teachings transmitted through the Insight movement that has taken place in the United States in the last few decades. We are located in the city of Medellín, Colombia. We started practicing in 1989 under the direction of the French Soto Zen monk Reitai Lemort, Taisen Deshimaru’s disciple. In 2011 we separated from our former leader in an effort to provide a practice that was oriented towards open and socially engaged lay people. We have always felt a deep resonance with Suzuki Roshi’s teachings, so we approached San Francisco Zen Center. We also reached out to the Insight Meditation Center led by Gil Fronsdal in Redwood City, California. Both communities have been our main sources of inspiration and support for the past five years.

Our zendo in the Patio Bonito neighborhood of Medellín

Our zendo in the Patio Bonito neighborhood of Medellín

A Zendo at Home

Our practice place is in the apartment where Sanriki Felipe Jaramillo and Seigen Catalina Acosta live. We have regular zazen periods three times per week and a weekly mindfulness group in this apartment. It’s interesting and challenging to have the zendo in our apartment as we try to integrate the sangha schedule with daily family dynamics. It has been a beautiful way to learn how to adapt our life to practice instead of trying to adapt the practice to our life. Today we’re in the process of finding a new place because the small zendo is no longer spacious enough to accommodate all the practitioners.(continues)

Map of Affiliates

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Of Interest

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Residential Practice Opening at Hartford St. Zen Center
San Antonio Zen Center Needs Larger Home
Reminiscences of Suzuki Rosho (audio)

Residential Practice Opening at Hartford Street Zen Center

Dear Branching Streams Sangha,
Autumn greetings!  Hartford Street Zen Center currently has a residential practice opening. We are seeking a Student of the Way interested in living in community and contributing to the operation of a small urban temple.  Located in San Francisco’s Castro District, we offer tuition based residential practice and a flexible model for a student to work in the world.  We are not able to provide a work/stay trade, however this may be an opportunity for a Branching Streams fellowship candidate. We will also consider guest students for self-retreat stays.

If you have any questions or wish to refer a student, you may contact me directly via my personal e-dress: or by phone 408.507.0577.
With bows,                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bokushin Sheryl Leaf                                                                                                                                                                                                                               HSZC Shika

New Home for San Antonio Zen Center

The time has come for San Antonio Zen Center to find a larger home that offers meeting space, housing for retreat participants, and a place for our Guiding Teacher, Colin Gipson – a place that will give us a place to grow.  While we have received some donor commitments, we still need to raise additional funds to purchase and renovate a property.  Please visit our page at GoFundMe to help us realize our goal. Any contribution – no matter how small – is greatly appreciated.Please help us in our efforts to continue to bring the Dharma to South Texas!

Reminiscences about Suzuki Roshi

At one of the evening sessions at the May 2015 Branching Streams meeting, some of us who had begun practicing when Suzuki Roshi was alive reminisced about our practice with him.  It was recorded and you can download the audio here.