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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,


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