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Newsette March 20, 2023

I’m writing on the eve of the Spring Equinox, looking forward to the ceremony tomorrow at which we share words of the season. We’re expecting more rain tomorrow and instead of singing “When the Red Red Red Robbin Keeps Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along” the song may be “Singing in the Rain.”

There will not be a Newsette next week, as I’ll be at Tassajara sitting sesshin with my teacher, Eijun Linda Cutts, who is leading the winter practice period there.

I recommend a just-published book by Alan Senauke, Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, Turning Words, Transformative Encounters with Buddhist Teachers.  Alan shares stories of moments in which someone’s words, actions, or presence opened his mind and heart in a new way. You can order the book from Shambhala, or from the SFZC Bookstore,

For those at a distance who would like to attend Layla Bockhorst’s memorial service virtually, on Saturday March 25 at approximately 4:00 p.m., here is the Zoom link. James Bockhorst says, “We will also be recording audio, so if anyone would like an MP3 file of the event, we will be happy to send that out. It is also possible that a zoom link may be made available for the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Funeral itself. Should that eventuate that link will be sent out as well.” You can contact James at

If you have news you’d like me to include in future Newsettes, please email me or send me your newsletters at Here are some dharma offerings coming up soon:

The Samish Island Sesshin, an annual retreat organized by Bellingham(WA) Zen Center, will be June 25 to July 1. General registration began on March 19. The site is a church camp on the water on Samish Island in the Skagit Valley. “The retreat includes dharma talks by Zoketsu Norman Fisher and Nomon Tim Burnett, dokusan and practice discussion, sitting and walking meditation, and delicious vegetarian meals.”

On Saturday April 1, Valley Stream Zen Group (Sacramento, CA) is offering a one-day retreat, “Riding in the Same Boat with All Beings,” with guest teacher Kokyo Henkel. The retreat will include alternating periods of sitting and walking meditation, punctuated by morning and afternoon Dharma talks and discussion. The theme of this retreat is Dogen’s essay Zenki.

Houston Zen Center is offering a three day in-person retreat, The Dharma of All Beings, April 14-16, led by Dharma Teacher Mary Carol Edwards and Sanran Maite Leal. “We will explore Zen writings about the dharma of all sentient (and so-called insentient) beings…In the serene rustic surroundings of Auspicious Cloud Retreat Center, we will sit and walk with the moon, stars, and beings of the night, the rising dawn, the dew, the grasses and wildflowers of the prairie, the shade of the forest and beings of the day.”

A four-week in person and online class on the Poetics of Zen Koans will be offered at Houston Zen Center beginning Tuesday March 28  from 6:30 to 8:30 Central Time. The class will be taught by Kishin Eric Arbiter, a member of HZC since 1994 who was ordained in 2008, and recently retired after 45 years of playing bassoon in the Houston Symphony.

May you enjoy the beginnings of Spring and the lengthening days.

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