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Newsette September 14, 2021

I’m happy to tell you that the Fall Practice period at Tassajara, led by Ryoshin Paul Haller, began yesterday with about 40 participants, including members of Austin Zen Center, Chapel Hill Zen Center, and Milwaukee Zen Center.

Ten sanghas have signed up for Branching Streams Sangha Weeks at Tassajara for Summer, 2022. Please let me know if your sangha is interested in going. There are still openings.

As folks seem to have settled into their zoom zendo rhythms, be it virtual or hybrid, we are discontinuing the zoom zendo clinics that Jon Voss has been facilitating. If you have issues you want to work out though, he remains available for free, 30 minute consultations, which you can book online here.

This Newsette highlights several ways Branching Streams groups are appreciating nature and tuning in to the climate crisis, as well as a few other offerings that may interest you.

Akazienzendo in Berlin is planting a 100 meter hedge as a sanctuary for birds, insects, and other beings at the country home of two members who host sesshins for the sangha. Guiding teacher Bernd Bender writes, “It is a sangha project that also aims at overcoming individual feelings of hopelessness, given the magnitude of the climate crisis.” If you would like to contribute to the realization of this project, here is a link to their Go Fund Me page.

September’s Full Moon, the harvest moon, is Monday, September 20th. Bozeman Zen Group in Montana is celebrating it in a unique way, gathering at a member’s house. After a half hour of sitting as the moon rises, they will “view the night sky from a high vantage point over the Gallatin Valley, and enjoy the cool evening with moonlight, firelight and the warmth of our sangha’s heart.” 

Richmond Zen in Virginia is offering a Mountains & Waters Field Trip, an overnight primitive camping trip. October 16-17. They write, “The Buddha and his first followers primarily practiced in forests and fields. We’ll head to a generous member’s forested land for zazen in the wild, nature exploration, and community with the more-than-human world. The land is a two-hour drive from Richmond.”

On September 30, All Beings Zen in Washington DC is hosting a talk by Rev. Konin Gaelyn Godwin (Abbot of the Houston Zen Center) and Rev. Taiga Ito (Soto Zen International) focusing on environmental dharma, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Other events of interest:

Chapel Hill Zen Center announced a concert taking place in Chicago, the world premiere of A Brush With Our Time from composer Andrea Clearfield and librettist Doreen Rao. This piece for four voices, shakuhachi, percussion, and piano is based on the poetry of Zen artist Kazuaki Tanahashi, and explores the tension between peace and conflict.   The concert can be viewed and heard September 19-21.

Chris Fortin, guiding teacher of Dharma Heart Sangha in Sebastopol CA, and Jennifer Block are co-leading an online Jizo practice group, Journeying through Grief and Change with Fearlessness, from October 14 to November 11. “Each session includes Dharma teachings, discussion, small group sharing, and/or creative practices. The final session will be a Jizo Ceremony in which we bear witness to each other’s losses and dedicate our efforts to the healing of grief in our communities and in the world.”

Crystal Johnson, who led last year’s Branching Streams Unpacking Whiteness class will be leading an online White and Awakening Together class at Spirit Rock, on Sundays from October 3 to November 21, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pacific Time. “This course is designed as a guided, collaborative exploration for people who self-identify as white, or for whom whiteness is a significant part of their identity. Previous experience with whiteness work and/or meditation is not required in order to benefit from this course.”

May you and your sanghas be well as we head towards the harvest moon and autumn equinox next week.

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