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Newsette August 17, 2023

I have enjoyed compiling this Newsette, which includes a range of topics, including a new affiliate, book launchings, retreat offerings, a Pilgrimage to the South, and a request from our Branching Streams affiliate in Medellin, Colombia. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Welcome to Great Spirit Sangha in San Francisco, whose founding and guiding teacher is Cynthia Kear. Cynthia received dharma transmission from the late Darlene Cohen. She writes, “Our form of practice is firmly rooted in the Suzuki Roshi lineage of Soto Zen Buddhism, in the dharma of our immediate ancestor, Darlene Cohen (Su Rei Ken Po, Great Spirit Manifesting Dharma).” Great Spirit Sangha is open to and respects the inherent Buddha Nature of all beings, is very LQBTQI and recovery friendly.

Lien Shutt, founding and guiding teacher of Access to Zen in Oakland, CA is celebrating the release of Home is Here,  Practicing Antiracism with the Engaged Eightfold Path on Tuesday August 22 at 7 p.m. at Books Inc in Berkeley. She will be in conversation with Zen Priest Dana Takagi.


Paula Arai, the author of Women Living Zen and Bringing Zen Home, and a professor at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, CA will launch The Little Book of Zen Healing with a reading at Book Shop Santa Cruz on Monday August 28 at 7 p.m.

Houston Zen Center is offering a 4-day Teaching Retreat with Kokyo Henkel focusing on Menzan Zenji’s Self-Enjoyment Samadhi.  The retreat begins at Houston Zen Center the evening of Thursday, August 31 and continues from Friday September 1 to Sunday September 3 at Auspicious Cloud Temple in Chappell Hill, Texas.  “In this retreat, we can examine together and discuss some highlights from the treatise on Self-Enjoyment Samadhi by a great 18th century Soto Zen teacher. It was written for his devoted lay disciples to clarify the practice of zazen.”

Practicing with Water, a three-day Sesshin led by Zenki Kathleen Batson is offered at Chapel Hill NC Zen Center from Friday September 29 to Monday October 2. “In this sesshin we will explore the theme of water in some of Dogen’s writings, consider what stories we tell ourselves about water, and how to engage with water as part of our practice in everyday life.”

Nine Buddhist practitioners affiliated with the Racial and Social Justice as Dharma Practice Group (RSJD) will make a Pilgrimage to the South from September 5 to 10. They will journey to Alabama to “witness, learn, and practice within the context of the lived truths of the institution of slavery, the growth of systemic racism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the ongoing work of racial and social justice as currently manifesting in the South,” visiting sites of historical significance in Brimingham, Selma, and Montgomery .RSJD is co-led by Chris Fortin of Everyday Zen and Dharm Heart Zen and Doralee Grindler Katonah of Valley Streams Zen Group in Sacramento CA.

Montaña de Silencio in Medellin, Colombia requests our support! Their board president, Engyoku Nidia Gil writes: “We are wholeheartedly working here to make this center more available to practice and study Dharma. Last month we launched a campaign to raise funds to guarantee the sustainability of this organization. We are currently being supported by donations that come from our members, that today are 28.” Here is the link to their campaign: