I am writing just before leaving on a journey to visit two Branching Streams Zen Centers in Germany – Akazienzendo in Berlin and the Zen Buddhist Center Black Forest – and two centers in Switzerland, Felsentor and Zendo am Fluss in Lucerne. I will be leaving for the airport in less than two hours, so this Newsette will be briefer than most.
The week before this, about sixty teachers, board members and sangha members met in Santa Cruz for the 2023 Branching Streams Gathering. We experimented with a new format, Open Space, in which breakout groups were generated by participants. Jon Voss, who led us in this process, commented, “It helped us to better understand some of the themes that are alive for the people and the sanghas who were there. We hope our time together opened a door to continue to explore these themes across the Branching Streams.” We will post more information and some photos on the Branching Streams website in the near future.
Montana de Silencia in Medellin, Colombia, will have their first priest ordination in late March 2024. Jiryu Rutschmann-Byler, the guiding teacher for the sangha, will be the officiant, along with his student Sanriki Juan Felipe Jaramillo, who will receive dharma transmission at Green Gulch Farm this fall. They have gathered most of what will be given to the ordinands and are looking for two priest oryoki sets. If you know of anyone who has priest bowls, isn’t using them, and would like to pass them on, please let Jiryu know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rev. Doralee Grindler Katonah, a teacher at Valley Streams Sangha in Sacramento, wrote a piece about a Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama in which she and seven other Zen students participated. Her writing is an introduction to a slide show by fellow participant Bob Andrews. I will post her article and a link to the slideshow when I return.
Please forgive any errors or omissions in this Newsette, which was written hastily, wanting to connect with all of you in between the Gathering and my journey.