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Newsette April 4, 2023

It’s a clear, sunny day in San Francisco, though cooler than usual in April. I returned from a week of sesshin at Tassajara on Saturday, in time for the City Center Shuso Ceremony.  Our Shuso was Dan Gudgel. Dan has practiced with Mountain Source Sangha in Marin County CA  since 2006 and was invited to lead the sangha by Layla Bockhorst before she died.

This Newsette features several new books and book-related events, two offerings in Europe (Sweden and Germany), and an online introductory meeting for the Sati Buddhist Chaplaincy Training.

New books and a book tour:

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, guiding teacher of Still Breathing Zen Sangha, recently published Being with Darkness: Eight Gateways for being with the Absence of Light in Troubling Times. “In darkness, we become devoted to clarity, courage, peace, and harmony. We discover the basic goodness of all humanity when we experience darkness together,” Zenju Earthlyn Manuel writes. “Life itself is a dark experience—a magical experience.” She will be offering a three-part Dharma talk series based on these teachings at Upaya Zen Center.

The guiding teacher of Mill Valley Zen, Marc Lesser, is about to release his fifth book,
FINDING CLARITY: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Workplaces, and Meaningful Lives.
Marc writes: “I think we all want and need more clarity in our relationships, in our work, and in all parts of our lives. Finding Clarity explores the principles and practices of compassionate accountability – the skillful art of facing conflicts head-on and aligning with your personal aspirations of vitality, wellbeing, and success – to help you deepen your understanding, enhance your flexibility, and amplify your effectiveness.”

Chenxing Han, author of Be the Refuge, has a second book coming out on April 11, one long listening: a memoir of grief, friendship, and spiritual care. She writes, “I think of this memoir as a multilingual love letter to the patients, family, staff, and spiritual care team at the hospital where I served [as a Buddhist Chaplain] for a life-changing year.”

Ben Connelly, a teacher at Minnesota Zen Center, will be talking about his newest book, Vasubandu’s Three Natures, a Practitioner’s Guide to Liberation, at Zen Centers in Colorado, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana, including many Branching Streams sanghas. Let your friends know he’s coming! Here’s the link to his itinerary.

Offerings in Europe:

Bernd Bender, resident teacher at Akazienzendo in Berlin, writes: “Allow me to draw your attention to an upcoming online event with Lama Rod Owens. On April 24th at 7:30 pm CET, Lama Rod will speak about ‘Love and Anger: The Path of Liberation through Anger.’ The event will be held in English with German translation available.” To learn more, please visit this link.

For those of you in Europe, or those who may travel to Europe this summer, Eijun Linda Cutts will be leading a seven-day retreat at Svartbäcksgården, Rimbo in Sweden from July 8 to 15. She writes, “A Zen Retreat is a time to enter silence and stillness in all our activities, sitting, walking, receiving and eating our meals, listening and voicing and sharing the Dharma. Together we will support each other to find our mountain seat, settle the body-mind, and practice compassion with all beings—”practicing suchness without delay”.”  For more information, or to apply, email

On April 22nd, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST, the Sati Center in Redwood City CA will be holding a half-day online Introduction to Buddhist Chaplaincy led by Jennifer Block and Vanessa Able. The Sati Center has provided annual in-person training for Buddhist Chaplains for many years. This year they are launching an online version of the training for remote participants. All are welcome. No pre-registration is necessary. Location: Virtual, by Zoom. Password: compassion

I am saving some other good news for next week’s Newsette.

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