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Newsette 1-31-2022

We have begun the Winter Practice Period at City Center, with a number of new residents and our largest in-person one-day sit since Covid, with about 40 participants. Christina Lehnherr and Paul Haller are leading the practice period on the theme “Taking and Creating Refuge.” We are still observing Covid protocols, such as masking in common spaces, and we’re still not open to the wider community.

While the first camellias are blossoming in the City Center courtyard and the temperature is in the high 50’s it’s good to be reminded that it’s still mid-winter in most parts of the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Taigen Leighton at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate writes: “In Chicago we are in the midst of winter with its cold, snowy stillness. We still sit amid uncertainty about the COVID pandemic. We look forward to resuming in-person zazen when our Board deems it safe…Our practice supports us to find steadiness and healing amid deep concerns for our world now.”

Taigen will be offering an online seminar on  HONGZHI AND CULTIVATING THE EMPTY FIELD
on Saturday, February 19, 2022 @ 1:00pm – 4:30pm.
“Chan/Zen Master Hongzhi (1091-1157) was the most prominent Caodong/Sōtō master of his time, known for his eloquent and incisive teachings. We will discuss Hongzhi’s historical background and his importance in the Sōtō lineage, and discuss some of his teachings in Cultivating the Empty Field, translated by Taigen.” 1-4:30 PM CST. To register, click the link above. For more information, contact

Beginning Sunday, February 13, Houston Zen Center is offering the third segment of Entering the Path of Practice (EPP), an 8-week program for advanced meditators who want to enter Zen deeply, to investigate the mind of daily life. EPP includes guided exploration, study and training. 

As part of their Winter Practice Intensive, Chapel Hill Zen Center is offering a four-week precepts study group beginning February 15 from 6:45 to 8 p.m. EST, reading Katagiri Roshi’s Returning to Silence.

Kotatsu John Bailes, founding teacher of One Heart Zen in Somerville, MA is offering an online practice on the topic Earth, Air, Fire, Water, The Body as Crucible of Transformation on February 6 from 10 a.m. to noon, EST.

Also at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, Gyoshin Laurel Ross will be leading an in-person HAIKU NATURE WALK on Saturday, February 12, 2022 @ 9:00am – 10:30am. She writes: “Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry that is drawn from direct experience with nature.  It is an ancient spiritual practice that is now a worldwide phenomenon. We will walk in relative silence enjoying whatever Mother Nature has to offer that morning—possibly rain of course. We will carry note pads or sketch pads or cameras and not write poetry as we walk but make notes or sketches of our experiences.  Participants will be invited to write haiku afterwards and share them with the rest of us if they wish.”

If you are excited by Laurel’s offering and don’t live in or near Chicago, you may want to adapt this practice in your own corner of the world.

Brooklyn Zen Center (NYC) writes, “We’re excited to be hiring a full-time Administrative Director to implement and support the many projects and plans at Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC). We’re looking for someone who can embody BZC‘s mission to cultivate intimate, ethical, and just relationships with ourselves and all beings.

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