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Newsette 5-9-2024

Although this is a time for blossoms, berries and asparagus, and warmer, longer days in many parts of the U.S. and Europe, sanghas in Texas report temperatures in the 90’s and much of Houston experienced flooding and strong winds. Houston Zen Center has been without power for several days and many of their trees were damaged by wind.

Thirty-one Zen Centers and sanghas have responded to the Branching Streams Teacher Support Survey. Thank you to those who responded! We will be summarizing the responses and will share them on the Branching Streams website soon. Meanwhile, you may be interested in how two centers, Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento CA and Mountain Rain in Vancouver BC are planning for future needs.

Guiding teacher Jim Hare and the Valley Streams Zen Sangha (Sacramento CA) board and members have started a fund they call their Maitreya Fund. Jim writes, “Set in place last October, the primary purpose of the fund is to support the future spiritual leadership of Valley Streams Zen Sangha. Everything changes. The sky, the seasons, you, and me. In recognition of this truth and to plan for future change, we established this legacy fund with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation.” I will include more information about this initiative as a feature article on the Branching Streams website.

Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, BC is launching the Mountain Rain Zen Community Endowment Fund in conjunction with the Vancouver Foundation, one of the oldest and largest Community Foundations in Canada. “The purpose of this fund is to create long-term financial stability for Mountain Rain while maintaining creative flexibility…An endowment fund will allow people to include Mountain Rain in their wills and estate planning…Therefore, it is also an opportunity to help address the economic disparity that is an increasing reality in our society, by having those with the financial capability support the practice of those who have lesser means.”

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago, IL is about to have a change in leadership. After over seventeen years “of generous and devoted leadership, our treasured Guiding Dharma Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton will step down to enter an emeritus dharma teacher role…Hogetsu Laurie Belzer, one of the founders of our community will begin as our new Guiding Darma Teacher on June 1.” The transition ceremonies will be held on Sunday June 9, both in person and online. The Stepping Down Ceremony for Taigen will be at 10:30 a.m. CDT, and the Entry Ceremony for Hogetsu will follow at 11:30.

Great Spirit Sangha’s guiding teacher Cynthia Kear writes, “we finished a sangha week at Tassajara on May 12. We had two ceremonies: Ja’nice Hoobler, Dai Toku/Great Devotion Jin Zan/Compassion Mountain was given Dharma Entrustment by Cynthia and Craig Edlebut ShuSei/Excellent Effort Ko Do/Authentic Way who was Shuso for Great Spirit’s spring practice period, had his Shuso Hossen Ceremony.

MiR (Meditation in Recovery) Sangha (San Francisco CA) just completed its sangha week on 5/19. During that time, they held a memorial for their dear Dharma Brother Tom Ingalls at the Suzuki Roshi memorial site.

Steven Tierney’s San Francisco-based sangha, which recently became a Branching Streams affiliate, Ocean’s Compassion, also held a Jukai at Tassajara for two longstanding members, Andrew Korniej whose Dharma name is Sei Do (Sincere Way) Kei Gyo (Joyous Traveler) and Chuck Yenson, Ko En (Beautiful Garden)  Shi Kan ( Stopping, Listening

Djinn Gallagher, abiding teacher at Black Mountain Zen Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland, writes: We have three half-day sittings coming up, in May, June and July, 7 am to 1 pm Belfast time, both in person and online. The dates are May 26 (next Sunday):, June 30:, and July 28: BMZC is also offering a five-day sesshin with Paul Haller in September.

Tonight at City Center we will have a full moon ceremony. The night sky in San Francisco has been fog-free the last few nights. It will be clear tonight, allowing us to enjoy the brightness of the moon as we leave the zendo after renewing our vows.

May the practice of our sanghas ripple out widely and bring ease and wellbeing to our troubled world.