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Newsette July 24, 2023

We have extended the registration deadline for the  2023 Branching Streams Gathering to August 8. If you haven’t registered, please consider attending!  Fifty-five people have registered so far. We have room for up to 15 more participants.

Welcome to a new Branching Streams affiliate, Autsit: Meditation for people on the autism / neurodiverse spectrum, based in Fairfax, CA. Autsit was co-founded by Anlor Davin, a priest ordained by Norman Fischer, guiding teacher of Autsit and founder and guiding teacher of Everyday Zen.

Josho Pat Phelan, Abbess of Chapel Hill Zen Center (NC) writes, “I am so pleased to announce that Richmond Zen, VA, with the Chapel Hill Zen Center, NC, completed a 90-day Kessei Ango, or Practice Period, that was registered with the Soto School in Japan. Eden Kevin Heffernan was Shuso. Konjin Godwin Roshi and Zenki Nishimura represented the Soto Zen International Center, and visiting teachers Teijo Munnich of Great Tree Zen Women’s Temple, Inryu Ponce-Barger of All Beings Zen Sangha, Kuden Boyle of Forest City Zen Group, and Choro Antonaccio of the Austin Zen Center, attended the Shuso Dharma Inquiry Ceremony on June 15.”

Konjin Gaelyn Godwin and others from Soto Zen International Center sent this Save the Date: “In honor of the important 700 year anniversary and commemoration of Keizan Zenji’s life and teaching, your center is invited to participate in the ceremonies. We have organized a tour, April 21-24, 2024. You might want to arrive in Japan before the tour or stay on after it ends.

“We will start April 21st at Fukui station near Eiheiji, where we will practice together, and stay in a nearby onsen/hot springs hotel. April 22nd and 23rd will be at Sojiji, where there will be ceremonies to honor Keizan Zenji. We will stay in a nearby hotel. The final day, April 24th, includes a symposium on Shobogenzo, at the Tokyo Grand Hotel. Important Shobogenzo scholars will make presentations, which will be a very fortunate opportunity for us.”

More details, including costs for the trip, and an informative poster, will be available soon.

Tassajara and Green Gulch offerings:

The due date for applications for the Fall 2023 Practice Period at Tassajara, led by Ryushin Paul Haller, is August 10th. Here’s the link on the SFZC website.

From Tassajara’s Director: “Nourish the community and your heart-mind by practicing as a member of the Tassajara kitchen crew during the 2023 fall practice period. Deepen your understanding of Zen while learning essential cooking skills with a tight-knit crew of monks. Apply now! If you’re accepted, you won’t have to pay for the practice period. You would be welcome to arrive September 1 and stay through the practice period. Please email by Sept. 9 to find out more details.”

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center welcomes applicants for the position of plant manager, with a start date in autumn 2023.  Please contact Jamie at if interested.

Tenshin Reb Anderson Roshi has accepted an invitation to lead the 2024 January Intensive, a residential practice intensive to be held at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center from January 6 to January 27. The window for the period of application is now open. More information about the intensive and the process for application may be found at this Information Link. Everyone who is interested is warmly welcome to apply.

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Newsette – July 6, 2023

Last week I was at Tassajara, co-leading a Queer Dharma Sangha Week. Two other Branching Streams teachers and groups were also there – Hogetsu Laurie Belzer with Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and Ryushin Andrea Thach with Berkeley Zen Center. Our sanghas mingled with one another and with residents – over meals, in the zendo, and on work crews – creating a joyful sense of one large sangha.

The deadline for registrations for the 2023 Branching Streams Gathering is July 15. About 30 people have registered thus far. We’d like to have a wide range of sanghas represented. Please consider attending! The capacity of our venue, Villa Maria del Mar, is 70 participants.

In my last Newsette, I made a mistake in how I described the leader of our new Branching Streams affiliate, Sky Island Zen in Tucson, AZ. Corrected description:

In my last Newsette, I made a mistake in how I described the leader of our new Branching Streams affiliate, Sky Island Zen in Tucson, AZ. Corrected description:  Mary Koopman is the founding priest and student of Chris Fortin. Chris is the guiding teacher of SIZ, a senior teacher at Everyday Zen and founding teacher of two groups in Sebastopol CA.  

Sorrows and Joys

I and many others who knew Keith Wiley, were saddened by his recent death. Keith was the resident priest of Crystal Springs Sangha in San Mateo, CA. He was a student of Sarita Tomayo-Moraga , who was a dharma heir of Darlene Cohen. You may have met Keith at a Branching Streams conference or online, as he attended many of Jon Voss’s Zoom clinics during the pandemic. A retired physician, Keith was devoted to his sangha and his teacher.  Keith was the first person to register for this September’s Branching Streams Gathering. In his last email to me he said, “I am looking forward to Santa Cruz this fall.”

On a joyful note, Josho Phelan, Abbess of Chapel Hill Zen Center, wrote, “I am so pleased to announce that Zenki Kathleen Batson will be installed as Vice-Abbess after zazen on September 17th, followed by a reception. Everyone is warmly invited to attend.”

Misha Merrill, guiding teacher of Zen Heart Sangha in Woodside CA ordained two priests on May 13th, Kathleen Dickey – Hoshin Ushun, Dharma Heart/Rain (of) Spring and Sylvia Hawley – Jizan Seishin, Compassion(ate) Mountain/Sincere Heart.

Berkeley Zen Center recently completed its first Many Communities, One Sangha program led by Rhonda Magee. “Over the course of ten months we met in small and large groups to discuss how to build a more inclusive community by exploring mindful responses to racism in ourselves, our sangha, and the greater world.” The program will continue for a second year.

Brooklyn Zen Center/Ancestral Heart Temple writes, “We’re overjoyed to announce the opening of the Millerton Zendo, a meditation space in Millerton, NY. Please join us for our opening on Saturday, July 22, at 10am EST. Starting Saturday, July 29, we will be offering weekly Saturday morning programs of zazen instruction, zazen, service, and dharma discussion. Please find more information and the schedule here. All are welcome.

Zen Center North Shore in Beverly MA has officially initiated a property search “for a location to call home. The time has come to consider locations where we can unpack, settle in, and continue to practice, learn, and grow our intentions to each other and the community.”

A Grant Program that may be of interest:

In 2024, Lenz Foundation grants will cover the emergent, broad-based field of women’s leadership in Buddhism, bringing women to the foreground in innovative ways and creating programming for empowering women. The window to apply for a grant is open until September 30, 2023.” If you know of people whose work may align with our grant theme, please refer them to our Grant Policy page and encourage them to write us.”

And a SFZC online program on Soto and Rinzai Zen you may want to explore:

Jiryu Rutschman-Byler, Abbot of Green Gulch Farm, and Meido Moore, Abbot of Korinji monastery in Wisconsin, will each be teaching a four-week online class on Soto and Rinzai Zen, respectively. These series will feature a conversation between the two Abbots on Saturday, July 15 — The Zen Spectrum: Bridging Soto and Rinzai through Dialogue and Understanding.
This conversation is part of a greater exploration of Zen traditions taking place in The Spirit of Soto Zen, July 10 to July 31, and The Way of Rinzai Zen, July 13 to August 3.

May you enjoy these long days of summer.

With bows of appreciation,