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Newsette 5-9-2024

This Newsette highlights expressions of the dharma through writing and art by members of Branching Streams sanghas, and more widely.

First, however, some Branching Streams news:

Welcome to new affiliate, Oceans Compassion in San Francisco. Oceans Compassion has grown over the last two and a half years and just celebrated its first Jukai ceremony. Founding and guiding teacher Steven Tierney was ordained by Dairyu Michael Wenger and received dharma transmission from Ryotan Cynthia Kear, guiding teacher of Great Spirit Sangha.

Since the 2023 Gathering in Santa Cruz, the Branching Streams Advisory Group and I have been following up on some issues that were explored at the Gathering. We have been focusing on how Branching Streams sanghas support their teachers. We created a survey that I sent two days ago to over 70 teachers. We think the results will be helpful to teachers, board members and sanghas experiencing teacher transitions, as well as more broadly. We will summarize the results and share them on the Branching Streams website.

Arts and Letters

Ryan Wong, the Director of Brooklyn Zen Center, relates, in his personal newsletter, “On Chanting, Protest and Faith,” his morning practice at Brooklyn Zen Center’s Ancestral Heart monastery with the experience of joining a student march in Manhattan this week in solidarity with Palestine.

An exhibit of Blythe King’s artwork, “Time Beings,” opened recently at the Eric Schindler Gallery in Richmond, VA. Richmond Zen sangha member Blythe’s collages “give expression to her ongoing de/re-construction of our images of women as re/de-fracted through the lens of Zen practice. This exhibit specifically explores Dogen Zenji’s teaching on time, in which he directs our awareness from our usual sense of time as “merely flying away,” to an understanding that “time itself is being, and all being is time.” This view brings an urgent vitality to every moment of being.”

“Are You Really Present All the Time?” – an article   by Kaishin Victory Matsui discussing a modern koan about waking up in this lifetime – was recently published in Tricycle. Kaishin. a priest of the Brooklyn Zen Center sangha, currently serves as the Director of Brooklyn Zen Center’s Ancestral Heart Temple, in Millerton, New York.

Lien Shutt, founding and guiding teacher of Access to Zen in the San Francisco Bay Area, has been hosting a podcast series available on the Access to Zen website. On May 1, in honor of Asian and Pacific Island month, she posted an interview with the 2024 May We Gather co-organizers, Funie Hsu, Chenxing Han, and Duncan Ryuken Williams. Lien will be co-hosting the next series of podcasts with Dana Takagi, who trained at Santa Cruz Zen Center.

Lion’s Roar just launched “Bodhi Leaves: The Asian American Buddhist Monthly” written and edited by Asian American Buddhists. Editors Noel Alumit and Mihiri Tillakaratne write, “Bodhi Leaves centers Asian American experience and is part of a larger movement creating a more inclusive American Buddhism.”

Turning toward summer

The Tassajara guest season began on April 30. The first Branching Streams sangha to go for a Sangha Week was Zen Heart Sangha from Woodside, CA. Twenty-five Branching Streams sanghas will be enjoying Sangha Weeks at Tassajara this summer.

Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland OR offers a Buddhist Summer Camp for children. Dharma Camp, from July 21 to 26, is “an overnight summer camp for kids aged nine through eighteen who are interested in Buddhism. The camp experience combines traditional camp activities, such as swimming, crafts, sports, and a campfire, with Buddhist practices like meditation, a chanted morning service, silent breakfast, and mindful work practice. Campers come from a variety of traditions and have different levels of familiarity with Buddhism but are willing to participate in our forms for the week of camp.” Please spread the word if you know families who may be interested.

I hope you are enjoying the colors and fragrances of spring.