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Newsette 3-15-2024

Today I will be attending May We Gather, a national pilgrimage to honor our Asian American Ancestors. It will be held in Antioch, CA, a small city in the East Bay, starting at 1 p.m. PDT, and will be livestreamed.

Why Antioch? Their website explains: “When our Chinese immigrant ancestors came to the United States in the 19t century, we faced acts of exclusion and destruction. We remember the scapegoating of Chinese women that incited the burning of Antioch Chinatown in 1876, and the subsequent loss of a temple on Wyatt Street. In 2021, Antioch became the first city in the United States to sign a formal apology acknowledging its history of discrimination against its Asian American Community.”

From the Pacific Northwest, two celebrations and a mourning:

Seattle Soto Zen’s guiding priest Allison Tait and Nomon Tim Burkett, the guiding teacher at Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham WA, held a Jukai Ceremony in Seattle on February 25 for Susan Hautala, whose new name is Kaikyo Zenshin, Ocean Mirror, Whole Heart and Chris LaTerza, whose new name is Myozan Junshin, Wondrous Mountain, Sincere Heart.

On March 3, Mountain Rain Zen Community held a Jukai Ceremony for five students. Co-guiding teachers Shinmon Michael Newton and Myoshin Kate McCandless officiated. “Because we have a relationship with the Vancouver Buddhist Temple, a Jodo Shinshu Temple founded in 1906, and Rev. Aoki, he generously let us hold the ceremony in their spacious main hall, so that we didn’t have to limit attendance. Like weddings, some people weep with joy, and many renew their vows along with those receiving the precepts. 

The students and their new dharma names are Moe Zakzouk, Shiryū Daishin, Branching Stream, Magnanimous Heart; Wynnie Smithies, Jifū Kūdō, Compassionate Wind Boundless Way; Seph King, Myōshin Shinkyo, Bright Forest, True Abode; Jason Dunphy, Myōrin Sōyū Bright Presence, Original Friend; and Nik Bladey, MyōKai Tetsugen, Wondrous Ocean, Penetrating Source

A message from Red Cedar Zen Community: “Our senior priest Edie Norton died in the early morning on March 5. She passed peacefully at home with family nearby. At Edie’s request, a few members of the sangha sat with her body the day that she died, sometimes meditating in silence, sometimes sharing stories, gratitude and laughter. Edie was dressed in her exquisite hand-sewn priest’s robes.”  

The next offering in the Soto Zen Buddhist Association’s monthly presentations in the series Celebrating the Voices of Women in Buddhism is The Body as a Doorway to Practice

on Saturday April 13, from 3:30 to 5 pm ET. Click here for more information

San Francisco Zen Center is hiring an AR & AP Specialist to work at our Page Street location. See this job description. Interested candidates can send a cover letter and resume to

On the Spring Equinox, March21, I will be going to visit Montana de Silencio Zen Community in Medellin, Columbia. I’ll be assisting guiding teacher Jiryu RutschmanByler (who is the Abiding Abbot at Green Gulch Farm) and resident teacher Sanriki Jaramillo with a Jukai Ceremony, a priest ordination, and a sesshin. I’m looking forward to meeting sangha members and practicing with them – as well as visiting a city and a country I’ve never been to. I will be back on April 2, and will send my next Newsette that week.

May you thrive as buds unfold, spring flowers blossom, and the days grow longer.