As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the City Center Fall practice period is nearing its close. Rohatsu sesshin begins on Saturday the 28th, ending with a Shuso ceremony for Sozan Diego Miglioni on Saturday, December 5th.
Many Branching Streams groups in the U.S., Canada, and Europe will be spending days in the silence of sesshin and celebrating Buddha’s enlightenment, as the nights grow longer in the Northern hemisphere.
At this pre-holiday time, when we may have more time for reading, I will devote this week’s Newsette to several soon-to-be-released books by Buddhist authors, all connected with Branching Streams sanghas. We (our new webmaster Jon Voss and I) plan to feature reviews of these books on the Branching Streams website.
Guiding teacher of Still Breathing Sangha Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s new book The Deepest Peace, will be released by Parallax Press on December 1st. Zenju writes in the introduction: “I have testified many times of my suffering. Before I die, I must speak of peace.” “Reading this book is a profound meditation in itself,” says poet Naomi Shihab Nye. “Exquisitely crafted and perfectly paced—you will feel your whole being calming down, responding with layered grace to the rich gifts offered here.”
An essay by Houston Zen Center Priest Gyozan Royce Andrew Johnson appears in Black and Buddhist, What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom, edited by Pamela Ayo Yetunde, who was the keynote speaker at this year’s Soto Zen Buddhist Association conference and Cheryl A. Giles. Published by Shambhala, Black and Buddhist will be out on December 8th. Leading African American Buddhist teachers offer lessons on racism, resilience, spiritual freedom, and the possibility of a truly representative American Buddhism. With contributions by Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, Cheryl A. Giles, Gyōzan Royce Andrew Johnson, Ruth King, Kamilah Majied, Lama Rod Owens, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Sebene Selassie, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde.
San Francisco Zen Center Board member Carla Sterling Walter’s Sacred Dance Meditations, published by North Atlantic Press, will be available on December 15th. This book offers readers 365 dances–one for every day–rooted in traditions from around the globe. Each dance is different in origin and technique but connected in common purpose: as sacred conduits for hope, love, connection, community, and spirituality. Carla is the founder of Dance in the Spirit, an organization that recognizes the value of sacred dance as a daily practice linked with mindfulness, along with its ability to emphasize and anchor us to the present moment. Carla considers herself a perpetual beginner in the Suzuki Roshi Soto Zen practice tradition.
Daijaku Kinst, guiding teacher of Ocean Gate Zen Center in Santa Cruz, California, highly recommends, Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists by Chenxing Han. Chenxing Han was a student of Daijaku’s in the Institute of Buddhist Studies Chaplaincy Program in Berkeley, CA. Daijaku notes, “Not only is Chenxing a excellent scholar, she has the ability to invite people to share their lives and perspectives with her, and this work reflects that skill. She takes special care to include the voices of young Asian American Buddhists.” Be the Refuge, published by North Atlantic Books, is available for pre-order, and will be out in January, 2021. There is more detailed info at www.chenxinghan.com, and a list of reviews here.
If you know of other books or articles by sangha members that you’d like to recommend to others, please let me know.