Farm and Garden Apprenticeships
at Green Gulch

Seeking prospective Zen students & farmer-gardeners!

Green Gulch Farm welcomes applications to the 6-month Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program for 2017. Read detailed information about the program here. A prerequisite for the apprenticeship is a 2-week guest student stay, which needs to be scheduled in advance. Our ideal candidates are energetic people equally interested in cultivating Zen practice, living in an intimate residential sangha setting, and working to steward this beautiful watershed while learning to produce organic fruit, flowers, herbs and vegetables for a variety of outlets. For any questions, including guest student stays, please contact contact Emila Heller.

New Editor, New Ideas

by Steve Weintraub and Jean Leathers

With any website, myriad beings connect behind the scenes to keep content current and to foster a lively online neighborhood. Branching Streams has been cared for by many unseen hands, fingertips touching keyboards and tablets, content emerging and falling away—a digital manifestation of interconnectedness and impermanence.

Luca Valentino and Jean Leathers celebrate after she received the precepts on January 16, 2011 at Green Dragon Temple.

Our search for a new website content editor has been successful. Jean Leathers, a member of SFZC for more than a decade, currently residing in Cleveland, Ohio, has agreed to serve in this role. As she takes the helm, we thought it would be nice to take a moment to recognize and thank a few folks who’ve been attending to our community’s online presence. (continue reading)


Reflections on a Branching Streams Fellowship

Hakusho Johan Ostlund

Through the Branching Streams Fellowship Program, Hakusho Johan Ostlund was invited to spend six months with Taigen Dan Leighton and the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Sangha (ADZG) in Chicago. Hakusho, Taigen, and Ino Laurel Ross share their appreciation and experiences. (continue reading)

On the Road: Visiting and Sharing Mid-Stream

Chapter 2, Summer 2017
By Marcia Lieberman

The summer of 2017 found me traveling to sanghas in the Great Plains and along Lake Michigan. Packing a bag of temple art materials, I arrived first at Bozeman Zen Group to lead with (BZG’s resident teacher and priest) Karen DeCotis a one month long practice period based on Suzuki Roshi’s teaching—Express Yourself Fully. Together we joined the sangha with an assortment of teachings: pen to paper practice such as enso, sutra copying, zengo; creating sound in the zendo; and home altars. Bozeman is full of rocks so keeping paper in place was easy–a short walk outside produced chunks of granite. Considering nature and Zen, we made, then distributed, seed balls for the back lots of Montana. The oryoki training included fresh produce from the local market and generous servers. Hospitality included a bike trail from my homestay to the zendo in 10 minutes—wild flowers on either side, and the sun tipping the mountain tops. (continue reading)

Profile: Twining Vines Sangha, New York, NY

Twining Vines Sangha celebrates 10-year anniversary in 2016

Twining Vines Sangha (TVS) is a non-residential practice community located in the northern suburbs of New York City. Our home zendo is in Purchase, NY, where we have Tuesday evening zazen, a short talk, and discussion; and a regular Saturday morning program including zazen, service, and work practice. We also sit Thursday evenings in Old Greenwich, CT in a Congregational Church that has welcomed us since early 2006, and where we offer beginning instruction.

Sejiki Ceremony: Hungry Ghosts in Old Greenwich

TVS has been celebrating its 10th anniversary throughout 2016. Founded in early 2006 by Jane Genshin Shuman and Patty Chikai Pecoraro, it started with a sitting group in one room on the lower level of Patty and Jane’s home. As we grew, pieces of furniture and exercise equipment disappeared one by one until the whole ground floor was dedicated to space for TVS.  (continue reading)

Map of Affiliates

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Of Interest

Zen Practice at Rebbiba Prison

by Dario Girolami

Click here to view video in Italian with English subtitles

Branching Streams leaders and others might find this documentary of interest. “The Inner Way – Meditation in Rebibbia,” tells about the first zen meditation course ever in an Italian prison. For more than eight years I have been teaching meditation to the inmates of Rebibbia, the largest prison in Rome. Images, words, sounds and silences accompany the narration, including my questions to the inmates, their answers, and their accounts of past and present experiences, as well as future expectations. Theirs may be a future in some way forever linked to the prison walls but, thanks to the meditation, not so unbearable.

Reminiscences about Suzuki Roshi

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Reminiscences of Suzuki Roshi (audio)

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.



Valley Streams Zen Sangha Moves To New Home

After seven years of collaborating with two area sanghas, Valley Streams moves into the Sacramento Dharma Center.

The Grand Opening of the Sacramento Dharma Center on January 29, 2017, marks a new era for Buddhist practitioners in the Sacramento area.

Abbot Myo Denis Lahey, Sister Amma Thanasanti, Rev. Jim Hare

Our Branching Streams affiliate, Valley Streams Zen Sangha, spent the last seven years collaborating with two area sanghas—the Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group and Sacramento Insight Meditation—to coalesce fundraising toward a shared, long-term home. For many years, each sangha had been renting from churches, synagogues, yoga studios, and other Buddhist temples to hold weekly meetings and retreats. (continue reading)

You can find older items in the News Archive.