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Newsette March 15, 2023

I found a word that was new to me in Eden Heffernan’s Richmond (VA) Zen newsletter: “Enbrightenment”It’s not just that our daylight hours are lengthening right now. There are bright lights shining from coast to coast.”

In this Newsette I’m highlighting some of the many ways of being interconnected and widening our circles – connecting with dharma friends and peers; refreshing a website; launching a new affinity group; growing a sangha’s membership base; renewing our connections with mountains and rivers; and strengthening ethical agreements.

Eden wrote, “I am very happy to share the news that several good Dharma friends are serving as Shuso for their respective home sanghas. Our own Ellen Hipppard is currently serving (remotely) for the Practice Period at Appamada, in Austin, TX, where she practiced before moving to Richmond. My Dharma cousin – and roomie at Tassajara in 2019) – Kanyu Neal Shorestein, is Shuso for the Everyday Zen Winter Practice Period in California. And our friends at All Beings Zen Sangha in DC are enjoying Dharma cousin Koryu Naomi Noble as Shuso for their Winter Practice Period. I feel so fortunate to experience their brightening of the Way before I plunge into the role of Shuso in April.”

Zen Center North Shore (north of Boston, MA) just launched their new website: “For the past few months, we have been working on redesigning the Zen Center North Shore website with the intention of making it more welcoming and intuitive for current and new members alike. We are excited to share with you that the new website was finally launched! We hope that the new design will delight your eyes and continue to support and encourage your practice.” Check it out here.

Next week Brattleboro (VT) Zen Center will launch a weekly Meditation and Recovery group, led by a sangha member who has extensive lived experience with substance use disorder and Buddhism. Hakusho Ostlund, the guiding teacher, writes “It has always been my aspiration for the Brattleboro Zen Center to be able to offer a Meditation and Recovery group, something many other Branching Streams sanghas have been offering for many years.”

Brooklyn Zen Center is having a membership drive this month. Their March newsletter explores the meaning of membership, invites participants to reflect on how the sangha nourishes them, and  invites the sangha to several events: an in-person meeting on Membership, Engagement, and Stewarding a Tradition which occurred on March 11, and an online gathering on Practicing with Membership, “for members and non-members alike to share how we relate membership to the practice of dana and stewardship of Soto Zen Buddhism at a socially engaged temple in America. You can find more details here. The final event will be a movie night at the end of March.

Austin Zen Center will have its annual Membership Meeting and brunch on April 15th. At this gathering “current, lapsed, and prospective members will hear from the board and spiritual leaders about the spiritual and financial health of the temple and elect new board members.

Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham WA offers their annual Wilderness Dharma Program , “a series of mindful and ritual journeys throughout our local watersheds, and we warmly invite you to come out for a walk, a hike, or a full backpack. We offer a wide variety of experiences, suitable for a wide range of interests and abilities. We begin the season with our Receiving Water/HIlls and Streams Hike on Saturday, March 25th, timed to coincide closely with the Spring Equinox.”

The Shogaku Institute will partner with attorney Carol Merchasin to offer a no charge, five-class workshop on Preventing Sexual Misconduct: Recognizing, Responding and Recovering. Carol brings legal expertise to prevention through policy and organizational structure designed for Buddhist communities. The Shogaku Zen Institute instructors (Daishin McCabe, Steve Kanji Ruhl, Steven Koshin Tierney and Myoan Grace Schireson) will offer training on creating healthy sangha dynamics through council training, communication, accountability and a recovery/healing process. Workshop participants may ask for a legal review of their community’s ethics/grievance policy (at no charge) by Carol and her assistant. Buddhist teachers, board members, sangha leaders, assistant teachers, and interested students are welcome to attend.  For more information or to register, email .

May we all be nourished by our connections with one another.

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