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Newsette 8-15-2022

 Many Sanghas are finding ways to practice in natural settings during these summer months. I found it encouraging to read about the two sesshins described below, one that already took place and the other scheduled for September.

Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton, guiding teachers of Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver B.C. wrote, “Recently twenty-two of us practiced at Sea to Sky Retreat Centre for our first full-week Mountains and Waters sesshin, and experienced the elements, the plant and animal inhabitants of that beautiful environment in a very direct way. Each morning and afternoon we had a period of outdoor practice, meditating while sitting, standing, walking, and lying down in the forest, present and awake to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures around us, and our body/mind responses to them. The koans of mountains, waters, and the great earth from the old Chinese Zen masters, Dogen Zenji and contemporary poets resonated strongly and supported us to go beyond the habitual contracted view of self vs. everything-else.” 

Seattle Soto Zen is holding an in-person five-day Fall Sesshin September 16 to 21 co-led by SSZ’s Kanshin Allison Tait and Red Cedar Zen Community’s Shudo Chris Burkhart, at Camp Indianola on Puget Sound. Logistic details and registration are available on the SSZ calendar. Due to COVID protocols, space is limited to 20 total participants. The 2022 Indianola sesshin will be the first opportunity for many months for the Seattle Soto Zen sangha to join their heart-minds together under the same roof and practice intensively as a community.

On another note, here is an invitation from Jan Chozen Bays at Great Vow Monastery in Oregon to participate in a five-week online course called Healthy Boundaries. This course provides Buddhist leaders with the tools and knowledge to understand the importance of healthy boundaries in spiritual communities and to critically discern the complexities of boundaries, power, and vulnerability in spiritual teacher-student relationships. The course also addresses practices for responding to misconduct by spiritual teachers as well as the importance of self-care and peer support as preventive measures. The course is being offered three times in 2022 and 2023: October 17-November 18, 2022, and January 9-February 10 and March 6 – April 7, 2023. You can register through www.buddhist healthy boundaries.org

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Newsette 8-8-2022

As school reopens in some states, and the upper leaves on the Japanese Maple in the City Center courtyard are turning red, I can sense that summer will soon be coming to an end.

There are several online offerings in the coming weeks that may be of interest to you, as well as an opportunity to attend Tassajara’s Fall Practice Period at no cost.

Black Mountain Zen Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland is offering a zazenkai – a half-day sitting – guided by Ryushin Paul Haller (who will be in San Francisco) on August 13, from 2 pm to 5pm Belfast time, 6 am to 9 am California time. You can come and sit in person at Black Mountain if you’re in Belfast, or join online via Zoom. This offering is free to everyone; click here for more information, and email Djinn Gallagher, resident priest, at reverendmyogan@gmail.com if you’d like to join. 

On the same day, August 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. PDT, Rev. Chimyo Atkinson will give a two hour workshop, Exploring the Life and Teachings of Keizan Jokin Zenji, through San Francisco Zen Center. This event will include a talk about the life of Keizan Jokin Zenji (1268 – 1325), and will cover excerpts from Keizan’s writings including “Zazen Yojinki” and “Denoroku,” followed by a discussion and Q&A.Recommended reading: Zazen Yojinki: Notes on What to be Aware of in Zazen. To register, use this link.

Akazienzendo in Berlin is hosting an online talk on Zen in the age of Climate Change by Kankyo Tannier, a priest in the Deshimaru lineage, on Friday, August 19 from 7:30 to 9pm, Berlin time, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PDT. She will discuss what the Zen way offers us in these troubled times, when the future for everyone looks difficult. Read more… Here is the  Zoom link for her talk.t

On August 21 from 1 to 3 p.m. PDT Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham, WA will have an in-person open house to celebrate their new home.

Tassajara is offering a free practice period for this Fall (September 26 – December 20), led by Abbess Fu Schroeder, to anyone who has done at least one Tassajara practice period and who would be interested in working in the kitchen. Please email the Tassajara director, Lauren Bouyea, at zmcdirector@sfzc.org  before September 9 for details.

In this time of impermanence and change, may you find joy and connection.

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Newsette 8-1-2022

Here are several events that bring me joy:

Heart of Compassion Zen Sangha in Pt. Reyes, CA just celebrated its fifth anniversary and its first Jukai ceremony. Seven students received the precepts from founding teacher Jaune Evens. Also, Wendy Johnson recently joined Jaune as co-leader of Heart of Compassion “Her wondrous dharma presence and ‘rooted practice’ nourishes and inspires our (sometimes) weary hearts and minds,” says Jaune.

Wrapped rakusus, lavender wands, and lineage papers

Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham, WA will be having an open house for their new home on August 21. Board President Joden Bob Rose writes, “Almost two years ago, we “jumped off the hundred-foot flagpole,” and left our home on Forest Street.  We now have come to the place where we will plant our blade of grass.  On August 15, we will close the purchase of 2509 Cedarwood as the new home of the Red Cedar Zen Community.”

On July 30, Reirin Gumbel, guiding teacher of Milwaukee Zen Center, returned from the first Pride event in Watertown, Wisconsin, “a hardcore fundamentalist Christian city. But there are now five churches who are openly affirming,” Reirin writes. “The area was fenced and heavily protected by police. I had a conversation with a group outside who were calling us sinners. I don’t have the illusion that I can change anybody’s conviction, but these people are serious and worthy of attention. I told them I was happy for them to pray for me. To the question if I realized that Jesus was God’s son, I answered that I thought that to be true, and that they also were God!”

Some offerings you may want to know about:

Paula Arai, author of Women Living Zen and Bringing Zen Home, The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals is giving a talk via Zoom hosted by Richmond Zen Center on Monday, August 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. EST. In her talk, Zen Women’s Wisdom, Paula will share how Japanese Sōtō Zen women, both lay and monastic, have responded to challenges historically, institutionally, and personally by drawing on Dōgen’s teachings and their own wisdom. Please register for the Zoom meeting link. Suggested teaching donation $10 >>(include note: “Arai teaching donation”).

Bamboo in the Wind Zen Center in Sunnyvale CA will launch their Fall class series, “A Living View of the Abhidharma,” taught by Sensei Beth Jacobs. Classes are September 8 and 22, and October 6 and 20, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. PST. Suggested reading is Jacob’s book, Abhidharma, The Original Buddhist Psychology, available online. Here is the link for more details or to register.

For meditators who want to enter Zen deeply, to investigate the mind of daily life, Houston Zen Center offers Entering the Path of Practice (EPP), an advanced program of guided exploration, study, and training, in three modules. The third module begins September 4 and ends October 29. Zen Priest Seirin Tim Schorre, senior HZC member Kyoshin Anna Mastantuono, and Zen Priest Gyōzan Royce Johnson lead the program. The third module focuses on Sangha. Participants entering the program may begin with any one of the three modules. Select here for the application and schedule . $150 is requested for each module. Scholarships are available.

Chapel Hill Zen Center writes that there are still a few in-person openings for the September 9 to 14 Genzo-e sesshin with Shohaku Okumura Roshi.

Okumura Roshi is also offering four online talks on Eihei Dogen’s Chinese Poems, August 4 to 7, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT, hosted by Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple near Asheville, NC.

These offerings lead me to feel a sense of abundance in the dharma realm as I envision them radiating out to benefit all beings.