June is Pride month, and Market Street in San Francisco is aglow with rainbow flags. Yesterday, Sunday June 5, I celebrated Pride by joining Santa Cruz Zen Center and Ocean Gate Zen Center at an “Out in Our Faith” interfaith service and marched with them in the Santa Cruz Pride Parade. Despite a steady drizzle bordering on a light rain, the streets were lined with people of all ages wearing rainbow shirts and scarves and waving rainbow flags as we walked by. It was joyful – in contrast to the sorrow of so many lives lost through gun violence in recent weeks.
The photo features Ocean Gate Zen Center’s “song-ha” performing at the Out in Our Faith service.
In response to recent events, Taigen Leighton wrote in Ancient Dragon Zen Gate’s June newsetter: “Our Soto Zen meditation and devotional practices and our strong teaching traditions of compassion and insight are more important than ever in our situation today. In last month’s message I spoke of supporting peace in the Ukraine. The courageous Ukrainian people still need and deserve peace. But now, after the horrifying mass murders of Black grandparents in Buffalo, and the mass murder of fourth grade children in Uvalde, Texas, we need to work for peace in the United States…This is not at all about “politics” but about basic human decency and ethics. We must speak out and oppose the purveyors of American mass murder.”
In recognition of the critical importance to the U.S. of the upcoming midterm elections, the Engaged Buddhist Election Retreat group (many are members of Berkeley Zen Center) is once again offering, in partnership with Vote Forward, a series of online letter writing retreats beginning Saturday, June 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. PDT. For more information, please go to the Election Retreat website.
Branching streams is about to launch a list-serve that will be available to readers of these Newsettes. You will more easily be able to share resources, request information from other sanghas, and work together on issues of mutual concern. I am working on the instructions for using the list-serve with Jon Voss, our Branching Streams webmaster, and we will share them with you soon.
Thank you to the sanghas who have sent their annual contributions, which are starting to trickle in. You can make an electronic payment on the Branching Streams website membership page. or send a check payable to San Francisco Zen Center, attention Tova Green, with your sangha’s name on the memo line, 300 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Ian Case, Tanto of Brooklyn Zen Center, described his experience at the April Branching Streams Conference in Austin, TX in the BZC newsletter. Click on his comments to read more and to see some photos.
This summer many sanghas are offering sesshins, both indoors and outdoors, in person and online.
Houston Zen Center is offering a 5-day sesshin from Tuesday evening June 21 to Sunday June25, both in-person and via their cloud zendo. Deepen meditation practice and gather the mind during this 5-day intensive meditation practice led by Abbot Gaelyn Godwin and Shuso Sengetsu Tricia McFarlin.
Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham WA is having their annual sesshin on Sammish Island from June 20 to 26. All are welcome to join the sesshin dharma talks by Founding and Guiding teacher Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Guiding Teacher Nomon Tim Burkett by Zoom:
Samish Island Dharma Talks:
If you live in or near Chicago, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is offering a three-day camping sesshin from July7 to 10 that will combine traditional Zen forms and Dharma teachings within the natural setting provided by Illinois Beach State Park.
As summer solstice approaches, may you find ways to enjoy the longer days, the shade of trees, the bright colors of flowers, and the sweetness of summer fruits.