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Newsette 12-19-2023

Many sanghas have sat Rohatsu sesshin, and are now turning toward the solstice and end-of-year ceremonies.

At City Center we had our last talk in the Buddha Hall until January 2025 (due to renovations to our 300 Page Street Building) on Saturday December 16, when Central Abbot David Zimmerman spoke about Transitions. The 300 Page Street zendo and the Conference Center next door will remain open in 2024 and we will continue having zazen and service, dharma talks, and other programs in those spaces. A small video camera has been installed in the zendo so the sangha can also participate online.

After over ten years of living in my room at 300 Page Street, I’m in the midst of moving to an apartment at 340 Page Street which I will share with a Zen friend. You can send mail to me adding San Francisco Zen Center to 300 Page Street, San Francisco CA 94102 or to 340 Page Street, Apartment 207.

In my last Newsette I mentioned the departing ceremony for five City Center teachers who moved to Enso Village. There was also a departing ceremony at Green Gulch Farm for Emila Heller, Meiya Wender, Mick Sopko, and Sukey Parmalee. All are settling into their new homes in Healdsburg.

A correction to my last Newsette: In describing the Jukai ceremony for Terran Campbell at Stone Willow Zen Center in Spokane, WA, I should have used the pronoun they instead of she. I have apologized to Terran.

Sangha News:

On December 16, Colin Gipson stepped down as guiding teacher of San Antonio Zen Center after a decade of leading the sangha. Choro Antonuccio, guiding teacher of Austin Zen Center described his ceremony: “It was an emotional and loving sendoff for Colin. His final dharma talk theme was “what I have learned while guiding teacher.” It was warm and accessible. There was a mondo with his Dharma entrusted students, and statements from invited visitors. Then everyone present, including on Zoom, was invited to speak if they wished. Several Branching Streams and SFZC teachers were present, including Gaelyn Godwin, Steve Weintraub, Joan Amaral, Linda Galijan, Greg Fain, and Karen de Cotis.

Great Spirit Sangha in San Francisco concluded their 2023 fall practice period with a Shuso inquiry ceremony for Ja’nice Hoobler, Dai Toku Jin Zan (Great Devotion Compassion Mountain). 

Ja’nice and her teacher Cynthia Kear

Two weeks later Guiding Teacher Cynthia Kear gave Jukai to three sangha members: Nancy Hale (I Sho Ji Getsu – Awesome Creativity, Compassion Moon), Dean Paquette (I Kan Ki Raku – Healing Mirror, Vessel of Joy) and Jeff Sunshine (Gen Rai E Shin – Subtle Thunder, Wisdom Heart). 

Myoshin Kate McCandless, co-guiding teacher of Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, BC, wrote a brief article about naming their new temple, Bright Stream, which is posted on the Branching Streams website. In discerning the name, she and the sangha learned about temple names as well as local history.

The Soto Zen Buddhist Association is launching Celebrating the Voices of Women in Buddhism; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, a monthly, year-long speaker series in 2024. This series has been planned by the SZBA DEIA committee and will include Dharma talks, panels, and intimate conversation with Buddhist women and teachers. 

The series will start with an all-day in person workshop with Dr. Paula Arai at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley on January 14. The workshop will focus on healing rituals that generate positive change. Registration is now open to all who are interested, including your sangha members. 

This will be my last Newsette of 2023. I wish you and your sanghas light, joy, and connectedness and look forward to being in touch with you again in January 2024.