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Newsette 11-15-2022

As I write, some of you will be in Los Angeles, and others on your way there, to participate in the five-day Precept Retreat (Jukai-e ceremony) celebrating 100 years since the founding of Zenshuji Soto Zen temple in Los Angeles.

The flyer for this event (attacjed) says: “During the last 100 years, Soto Zen Buddhism spread across North America and there are now over 200 temples and Zen centers and 800 Soto Zen priests. Though many of their dharma lineages share the same roots, they have become so diverse and complex that they are often unaware of the presence of their distant dharma relatives. On this occasion…we are going back to the root of our origin and once again share the Jukai-e ceremony with our dharma brothers and sisters.”

If you are attending the ceremony and would like to share some of your experiences, impressions, or photos on the Branching Streams website, please send them to me and I will compile and post them.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week for those of us in the U.S. and I will be taking some personal time. The next Newsette will be the week of November 28.

Here’s news from Branching Streams Zen teachers in Rome, Italy and Jalapa, Mexico, an update about the network of sitting groups in England called Dancing Mountains Zen Community, and a message from the Director of Tassajara.

Dario Girolami, Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco in Rome

led a meditation and gave a dharma talk at the Forum, in the Temple of Venus and Rome, on November 4. The topics of his talk ranged “from the fire of Nero to the Buddha’s Fire Sermon, from the cypress trees of the Sacred Way to Joshu’s Cypress in the Courtyard…in the place where Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus and Marcus Aurelius walked.” Dario was joined by his sangha and his wife Annalisa. “It has been a very deep experience for me.” It clarified his living koan about “why I was born in Rome with a clear Buddhist vocation.”

The guiding teacher of Montana Despierta Zen in Jalapa, Mexico, Sergio Stern, recently published his book The empty bowl. Contributions of a psychoanalyst to the study of buddhadharma. His book expresses what Sergio has learned in 25 years of practicing as a psychoanalyst and a Zen student about the connections between these two disciplines.

The Secretary of Dancing Mountains Zen Sangha UK, Michael Elssmere, sent a document (attached) tracing the history and current status of a group of sanghas that organized under the umbrella of Dancing Mountains in 2012. This structure connected groups that formed after Tenshin Reb Anderson’s many visits to the UK . Dancing Mountains supports the various sanghas financially and by arranging UK wide retreats and the UK tours of SFZC teachers in various parts of England.

Please share the following with your sanghas: Tassajara is offering a full scholarship for the Winter 2023 practice period to anyone who has completed at least one Tassajara practice period and would be interested in working in the kitchen. An application will need to be submitted, but no payment or use of practice period credits will be required. There are five spaces available. Please contact the Tassajara director at before November 21 for details.

I wish you safe travels if you are traveling and a nourishing time wherever you are.

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