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Newsette 5-2-2024

Earlier this week I returned from nearly two weeks of vacation in Rome and Venice. In Rome I visited Dario Girolami, Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco and his wife Annalisa Miglioni, enjoyed many walks with them in the ancient and modern streets of the city, and practiced with Dario and the sangha.

I went to Venice for the opening of the Biennale, an international display of art that occurs every two years. This year’s theme was Strangers Everywhere, and many artists created work related to the experiences of migration, refugees, and the impact of colonialism.

Several Branching Streams teachers and sanghas participated in the April pilgrimage to Eiheiji and Sojiji Japan to honor the 700th Anniversary of Keizan Zenji, the founder of Sojiji, and many were able to visit Rinso-in, Suzuki Roshi’s family temple. Houston Zen Center’s Abbot Konjin Gaelyn Godwin reported on the pilgrimage, including some wonderful photos.

In the latest Mountain Rain Zen Community (Vancouver, BC) newsletter, co-guiding teacher Kate McCandless writes: “I want to say something about the war in Gaza, and beyond, the war that is all wars, the dead children that are all the children killed in wars – and at the same time this war, and this child, and this one. Like so many others, I am heart-broken at the news every day.” If you would like to read more, here’s a link to the Mountain Rain newsletter.

Kate invites us to listen to a Ted Talk given in Vancouver by “two men of tremendous courage and heart, a Palestinian, Aziz Abu Sarah, and an Israeli, Maoz Inon, both of whom have lost family members in the conflict, and both of whom are whole-heartedly working for peace. Their conversation opened TED2024 in Vancouver April 15.” Click here for link 

Djinn Gallagher, resident teacher at Black Mountain Zen Centre in Befast, Northern Ireland, writes that Paul Haller from San Francisco Zen Center is offering two workshops this Saturday, May 4, in person and online. The first, at 10 am, is The Essentials of Zazen, which will explore the awareness of posture, breath, and mental/emotional activity. The second, The Path of Zen, at 2 pm, investigates how to let the insights that have been revealed guide us to bring kindness and wisdom into our life. 

The current Brooklyn Zen Center newsletter includes a beautiful description of the coming of spring at Ancestral Heart temple, Brooklyn Zen Center’s monastery in Millerton, NY written by a student named Larissa P.

Also, Brooklyn Zen Center is offering a new class with co-guiding teacher Kosen Gregory Snyder, Karma and Collective Liberation, in person at the Millerton Zendo and online, during eight consecutive Thursday evenings from 6:45 to 8:30pm, June 13 – August 1. Registration is now open!

Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento CA celebrated a Jukai Ceremony in April. Malia McCarthy received the Dharma name Hō Etsu/Dharma Joy.  Dave Jarrell received the Dharma name Kō Shin/Generous Heart.  Myō Lahey, Abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco was the preceptor. Guiding teacher Jim Hare gave the dharma names and prepared the rakusus and documents. He reported, “Many people pitched in to set up the hall and hold a reception afterwards.  It was a lovely day.”

Joan Amaral, guiding teacher of Zen Center North Shore in Beverly MA, recommends a new book by Tim Ream, Fallen Water: A Novel of Zen and Earth. Joan says, “I just finished it, and was deeply moved by his thorough and compassionate view of beings – plants, birds, stars, fire, water, earth, animals, and humans. I think others might enjoy it, possibly recognizing with fresh eyes aspects of their own practice and training at Tassajara as I did.” The book is  available in print and on Kindle here.

This month’s event in the Soto Zen Buddhist Associations yearlong series, Celebrating the Voices of Women in Buddhism, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow is a talk by Eijun Linda Cutts on Receiving the Marrow by Bowing, Raihai Tokuzui on Sunday May 11, 12:30 to 2 p.m. PDT, on Zoom. Eijun says, “Besides his unfolding of the issue of gender in relation to the Dharma of nonduality and in the choosing of a guiding teacher, Dogen does not hold back in his diatribe and strong admonishment of the biased practices of the time in relation to women…” There will be time for discussion and Q&A. Registration is now open to all who are interested, including your sangha members.

I welcome news you would like to share with other sanghas. I also welcome your comments and feedback about these newsettes.