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Newsette March 6, 2023

At City Center and Green Gulch Farm we are focusing our attention and energy on preparing for the Mountain Seat Ceremonies that will take place this coming weekend at both temples. All three abbatial seats will change. We will honor those leaving – Central Abbot Ed Sattizahn and Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbess Fu Schroeder – and those stepping into new roles. David Zimmerman will be the Central Abbot, Mako Voelkel the City Center Abiding Abbot, and Jiryu Rutschman-Byler the Green Gulch Farm Abiding Abbot. Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi and his son Shungo Suzuki will arrive tomorrow to assist with the many rehearsals, and Hoitsu Roshi will be giving the dharma talk on Saturday. All the ceremonies and the dharma talk will be live streamed.

Both Mako and Jiryu have led Branching Streams sanghas, Mako at Austin Zen Center and Jiryu the San Quentin BuddhaDharma Sangha and Montana de Silencio in Medellin, Colombia.

Dharma Eye, a publication of the Soto Zen headquarters, has just celebrated its 50th issue. This issue features the transcript of an interview with Houston Zen Center’s Abbot Konjin Gaelyn Godwin and Rev. Shundo Aoyama Roshi, the Abbot of Aichi Senmon Sodo, a women’s training monastery in Japan. The interview concerned the status of women in Zen and other topics.

Layla Bockhorst, guiding teacher of Mountain Source Sangha in the SF Bay Area and Open Circle in Montana, passed away on November 3, 2022. Her funeral and memorial celebration will be held on March 25, the funeral at 1:30 p.m. at Green Gulch Farm and the reception and memorial at 3:30 at Muir Beach Community Center. A flyer with details is attached.

News of sanghas: Many sanghas are celebrating Black History month and Women’s History month with special programming.

Black Women Zen Teachers will be honored by Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver BC on Wednesday March 25 and 29. Kate McCandless and Michael Newton write, “One of the noted characteristics of Buddhist and Zen sanghas in the West is the increased number of women as fully recognized teachers, and in the last twenty years of Back and other racialized women teachers. These two evenings, in recognition of February as Black History month and March as Women’s History month, will feature the voices and teachings of Black women Zen teachers as part of their regular Wednesday 7 to 9 p.m. PT practice schedule. CLICK HERE FOR ZOOM.

Richmond Zen Center (VA) and Chapel Hill Zen Center (NC) will host an online dharma talk by Rev. Chimyo Atkinson on Thursday March 9 at 7 p.m. ET. Chimyo was ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen Buddhist tradition in 2007. She received her monastic training at Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple in North Carolina where she served as Head of Practice until 2020. Here is the Zoom link: Via computer:, Via phone: (646) 558-8656
Meeting ID: 821 378 615

Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) is continuing the work of Undoing Whiteness through the Bodhisattva Path of Liberation BPOL). BZC has developed an ongoing curriculum to support practitioners identified as white in healing and transforming the social and ancestral causes of racial harm through Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Learn more about the BPOL Program and other related offerings here.

On April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. CT Houston Zen Center (HZC) will offer Do the Work, a two-hour online event for everyone committed to beginning or continuing the work of undoing racism. The event will be facilitated by members of the Antiracism Working Group from four Buddhist temples, HZC, Dawn Mountain, Austin Zen Center, and Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas. Their event is based on Do the Work! An Antiracist Activity Book by W. Kamau Bell and Kate Schatz.

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is offering a workshop on The Work That Reconnects on Saturday March 18 from 1 to 4:30 CT, conducted online by their sangha member Matt Streit. Everyone is welcome. The Work that Reconnects was developed by Buddhist scholar and activist Joanna Macy.  Guiding teacher Taigen Leighton notes: “Joanna Macy’s work is so important in our world now.”

There’s more good news to share and it will have to wait for my next Newsette!

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