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Newsette 2-28-2022

Registration for the Branching Streams Conference hosted by Austin Zen Center from April 25 to 28 is open. For more information, please use this link to the registration form. Please register by March 15.

Teresa Bouza, from Kannon Do Zen Center, is producing a video for the Conference. She invites  sangha members to share stories about practicing during the pandemic. “We would like to know how you kept practice alive and in what ways practice was supportive during this challenging time. We invite you to record a short video or audio clip with your cellphone and share it with me ( ) by March 10. You can share your videos via Google Drive, Dropbox or another method. If you send audio please also share some pictures to illustrate what you are saying. You can tell us stories about sitting at home and how that felt, your altars, your virtual sanghas… anything that sustained you during the pandemic.”

Many of us are experiencing great concern about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Taigen Leighton wrote in the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate newsletter, “As I write, we have a dangerous war in the Ukraine, including threats to nuclear facilities and from nuclear weapons. Many are suffering from violence and dislocation. May all peoples support peace, sanity, and diplomacy.” Please let me know how you or your sangha members are responding to this crisis if there is anything you would like to share in a Newsette.

News from Branching Streams sanghas:

Ancient Dragon Priest Gyoshin Laurel Ross will speak about Climate Change from a Buddhist perspective at an Interfaith Climate Summit at 3pm CST on Sunday, March 13, with representatives from Baha’i, Sikh, Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic faith traditions. If you are in Chicago, you can attend in person at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 600 W. Fullerton Parkway, or view the livestream. For more details, here is the link.

On Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m. CST, Austin Zen Center will hold a Lay Entrustment Ceremony for Shion Pat Yingst. “All are invited for this auspicious and celebratory ceremony in recognition of AZC’s long-time practitioner who has chosen to practice and teach, not as a priest but as a layperson. In this ceremony she will be formally entrusted to teach in the Soto Zen lineage of Suzuki Roshi. May her deep commitment and understanding of the Dharma be of great ongoing benefit to us allIt is possible to participate online as well as in-person.  READ MORE & REGISTER

Zenshuji in Los Angeles, founded in 1922 as the first official branch of Soto Zen in North America, is commemorating it’s 100th anniversary this year with a monthly series of lectures and conversations. The most recent, was titled, “The Zen Boom in San Francisco.” Josho Phelan, the guiding teacher of Chapel Hill Zen Center, provided links to the program in her recent newsletter. The first link below goes to an 8 minute YouTube video about and by Wako Kato. It shows photos of Maezumi, Katagiri, and Suzuki Roshi, Alan Watts, and others, as well as the SFZC City Center, from the 1950’s and 60’s.

The video below is a portion of the longer presentation and talk given by Dana Takagi and Jakusho Kwong Roshi:
Events in the series explore the diverse and emerging story of American Zen, and Zenshuji’s contribution to it. You can learn more at

A Book Recommendation

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s just-published book, The Shamanic Bones of Zen, Revealing the Ancestral Spirit and Mystical Heart of a Sacred Tradition,” illuminates the essence of the Zen rituals and ceremonies we engage with every day, and how they expand our hearts and minds. Anything I could say in a sentence or two about this book would be inadequate. After reading the first chapter I thought, “this is a book I would like all my teachers and students to read.”

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