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Newsette January 18, 2023

It’s been two weeks since my New Year’s Newsette. The atmospheric river that has been drenching the West Coast with rain and snow has finally left, leaving much damage in its wake in California and other West Coast states as well as in British Columbia in Canada.

The Tassajara road was affected, though it has reopened, and Green Gulch experienced days without power. City Center had flooding in the basement and some floors need to be replaced. Despite this, the Winter practice period at Tassajara began last week and the City Center practice period will start next week.

This Newsette offers news of recent Lay Entrustments and Dharma Transmissions. I invite you to let me know when these ceremonies occur in your sanghas and will include them in the future.

At Berkeley Zen Center, on the morning of January 9, Abbot Hozan Alan Senauke offered Mary Duryee – Hokyo Josu/Original Home, Calm Center – a green rakusu and entrustment as a lay teacher in Berkeley Zen Center’s Soto lineage. After the ceremony Mary gave a short talk and took dharma questions from sangha members who attended both in person and online.

Santa Cruz Zen Center Practice Leader Gene Bush gave lay entrustment to Patrice Monsour, Eto Tetsudo/Wisdom Lamp, Penetrating Way, on January 14. Patrice gave a dharma talk on freedom of the heart and mind in the midst of suffering. She also spoke of the non-separation of her Zen and contemplative Catholic practices. Zooming in was one of her spiritual mentors, Br. David Steindl-Rast.

Josho Pat Phelan, guiding teacher of Chapel Hill Zen Center noted, “With deep joy, I announce that Jakuko Mo Ferrell, Zenki Kathleen Batson, and Kuden Paul Boyle have completed Dharma Transmission over the Winter Holidays at the Chapel Hill Zen Center.” Jakuko and Zenki practice at Chapel Hill Zen Center. Kuden lives in London, Ontario and leads Forest City Zen Group.

Milwaukee Zen Center’s resident priest, Reirin Gumbel, invites us to a Zoom presentation on Meditation for Healing and Transformation by her friend in China, Dr. Zhenbao Jin on February 7 at 6 p.m. CT. His life goal has focused on supporting others in their physical and mental healing. Reirin writes, “He has had amazing success with his own healing and is excited now to share his wisdom with us.” Here is The Zoom Link.

I will be visiting Brooklyn next week to visit a high school friend who is in hospice care there and hope to attend the Saturday morning program at Brooklyn Zen Center.

May our practice and sangha relationships keep us warm in the middle of winter.

Taigen Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate’s guiding teacher, highly recommends reading a “very sensible” article by Rebecca Solnit, ‘If you win the popular imagination, you change the game’: why we need new stories on climate. Taigen says the article “presents real potentials and dispels unrealistic apocalyptic de

I will be visiting Brooklyn next week to visit a high school friend who is in hospice care there and hope to attend the Saturday morning program at Brooklyn Zen Center.

May our practice and sangha relationships keep us warm in the middle of winter.

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Newsette 1-5-2023

I’m writing as wind is gusting and rain is splashing against my windows. We’ve had a lot of rain in the past ten days. Despite flooding in the basement of 340 Page Street, and a rainy night, we had daisoji, longevity noodles, zazen, bellringing and a bonfire on New Year’s eve – as did many branching streams sanghas.

I wish all of you, and your sanghas, well-being in 2023, including good health, prosperity, and nourishing connections internally and with your wider communities.

This Newsette contains news from three Zen Centers and from San Francisco Zen Center.

Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, CA posted an encouraging story in their December newsletter: “Many of us have been caring for and supporting the Afghan family who came to Sacramento as refugees about 6 months ago. We have contributed to their resettlement in many ways (donations, gifts of needed items like pots and pans, shoes, a TV, bedding, etc.), prayers, and well-being ceremonies. Some of us met Mohammad and his brother at the Potluck gathering to welcome this family to our city. The family has been very grateful for all of the help they received.  Through the GoFundMe account we raised $10,000, primarily to cover their rent.   Last week they bravely participated in interviews as the last step in their applications for asylum.   Their lawyer felt the interviews went extremely well; however, it will be several months before they know the results.  

“The important update is that Mohammad has been offered a good job in Chicago with benefits and the potential for educational opportunities.  So, they are now moving to Chicago, leaving next week.  They express their gratitude over and over again for all of the support and love they have experienced from our community.   This base we provided for them has offered them a foundation, perhaps enabling them to take this next brave step in crafting their lives here in the USA. Please continue to keep their wellbeing and safety in your hearts.”

Tenshin Reb Anderson, Senior Dharma Teacher of San Francisco Zen Center, and the honorary founder of Houston Zen Center, leads a 5-day residential retreat at Houston Zen Center’s Auspicious Cloud Retreat Center from Tuesday, February 21 toSunday afternoon on February 26, 2023. The theme is “The Bodhisattva’s Joyful Practice in the World of Suffering.”

Zen Center North Shore (MA) has launched a podcast. In a recent episode, Guiding Teacher Joan Amaral talks about how we go beyond categories, not to “bypass difference and contrast” but to experience something deeper. The podcast can be found on Anchor at

Some news from San Francisco Zen Center:

Tassajara will be open this summer for Sangha Weeks led by Branching Streams teachers and SFZC’s Abbots and Senior Dharma Teachers. Invitations have been sent to the Branching Streams groups that signed up in 2022, when the guest season was cancelled. If you are interested in going to Tassajara with your sangha this summer and did not sign up in 2022, please let me know, as there may be some openings.

Enso Village, the Zen-inspired Senior Living Community which will open in autumn 2023, has a job opening for the full-time position Head of Spiritual Life. The job description is on Linked In:    Job Posting – Head of Spiritual Life