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Newsette 3-6-2024

It’s the beginning of Women’s History Month. Many sanghas are offering ceremonies honoring Mahapajapiti this month, our first woman ancestor, some in conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8.

This Newsette begins with an update about Hozan Alan Senauke. Many of us are holding Hozan in our thoughts and including him in our well-being ceremonies.

I’ve included news from Branching Streams centers in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Vancouver, BC; Chicago, and New Orleans, a message from the Buddhist Election Retreat Organizing Committee, and descriptions of two residential retreats happening this summer in the U.S., one on the East Coast, the other on the West Coast.

This update about Hozan Alan’s Senauke’s condition was written by Laurie Senauke on February 19: “It’s been eight weeks since Abbot Hozan Aan Senauke experienced a cardiac arrest while being hospitalized for complications from surgery. After spending most of January unconscious, Hozan began to wake up – first with eye contact and hand squeezes, then by gradually finding his voice again and interacting more and more fully with visitors. Silvie, Genpo, and I are very encouraged by the progress he has continued to make.” Hozan is now at Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital in Marin County. To keep up with the latest developments, visit the “Journal” section at Hozan’s CaringBridge site.

Paul Haller will be visiting Black Mountain Zen Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland from April 23 to May 5. He will lead a sesshin at Ards Friary, April 23-28, which still has places available: click here for more information, and will teach two workshops and participate in the BMZC schedule during his visit. All events will be both in person and online. For more information, check their calendar.

In the Mountain Rain Zen Community (Vancouver, BC) newsletter, co-guiding teacher Myoshin Kate McCandless describes a way in which their sangha encourages a wide range of voices to be heard. Sangha members are invited to give “Zed talks,” 20-to-30-minute informal talks about how they take their practice into everyday life through work, activism, art, teaching, parenting or other ways.

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago will be hosting an online Dharma talk with Paula Arai, on the topic “Women Wielding Liberating Power,” on Sunday March 17, following zazen, from 9:30 to 11:30 CT. Dr. Arai, a prominent Buddhist scholar, heads the Soto Zen Program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley.

On February 28, Mid City Zen in New Orleans LA joined an interfaith prayer vigil and press conference in Baton Rouge to call for an end of the death penalty in Louisiana. Read the statement from Mid City Zen Board regarding the death penaltyhere.

The Buddhist Election Retreat organizing committee is devoting themselves this year, as they have since 2004, to getting out the vote for Democratic candidates in swing states. Their Zoom kickoff event is Sunday, March 24 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. PT. Here’s the link to their webpage.

Looking ahead to summer here are two retreats:

Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham WA recently announced their annual Samish Island sesshin, which will be led by Zoketsu Norman Fisher from June 14 to 22.

Kosen Gregory Snyder and Shingetsu Laura O’Loughlin will co-lead Brooklyn Zen Center’s annual week-long summer retreat at the Watershed Retreat Center, “an opportunity to deepen practice through living communally on a 73 acre farm adjacent to a state forest. The retreat will culminate with Shukke Tokudo (priest ordination) for two sangha members.

With gratitude for our shared practice,