Posted on

Newsette 6-18-2024

I returned from Tassajara on Sunday after co-leading Queer Dharma sangha week. A highlight was offering a Pride event in which many staff members and guests participated. Queer Dharma was there at the same time as my long-time dharma friends Kathryn Stark with Sonoma Valley Zen and Meg Levie with Stone Creek Zendo. It was wonderful to spend time with Meg and Kathryn in the valley where we practiced together over twenty years ago.

After my visit to Centro Zen L’Arco in Rome in April, I interviewed founding teacher Dario Girolami about his interfaith work and wrote a blog for SF Zen Center’s Sangha News. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it.

On June 9, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago held its first Guiding Teacher Transition Celebration, including two ceremonies and a garden reception. Hōgetsu Laurie Belzer, a founding member of ADZG and dharma heir of Taiyo Lipscomb, was formally installed as the new Guiding Dharma Teacher in an entry ceremony. After almost two decades of leadership, Founding Guiding Teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, was honored in a stepping down ceremony. Taigen will continue teaching at ADZG as Guiding Teacher Emeritus. “This leadership transition was the fruit of innumerable sincere efforts and a joyous occasion for our sangha.”

Santa Cruz Zen Center celebrated a priest ordination on June 14, when Sara McClellan was ordained by her teacher Neti Parekh. Neti, who trained at Santa Cruz Zen Center and was given dharma transmission by Kokyo Henkel, leads Twining Vines Zen Centre in Canberra,Australia. Sara’s new dharma name is DaFu KoRei, Gentle Breeze, Luminous Spirit.

Ashland (Oregon) Zen Center is hosting its 18th community-wide yard sale June 28 – 30.

“Browse a huge selection of [donated] furniture, toys, books, collectibles, clothes, home decor, kitchenware, sporting goods, linens and housewares. The Little Zen Farm Stand will also be open during the Yard Sale. Shop a wide variety of plants, preserves, fresh produce and more. Proceeds from the Yard Sale and Farm Stand support the ongoing Dharma offering at Ashland Zen Center.”

Crestone Zen Mountain Center (Colorado) is hosting an onsite and online retreat lead by Richard Baker Roshi from July 9 to July 14. The topic is “The Breath is the Teacher. The Body is the Path.” Click here for more information.

Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, and the staff of the International Center of Soto Zen Buddhism, based in San Francisco, is hosting an online presentation on Affordable and Clean Energy on Saturday June 29, from 2-4pm PDT. The speakers are Rev. Honda Shijo from Jodo shinshu Honganjiha, and Rev. Zengyu Paul Discoe, a Soto Zen teacher. “You and everyone in your sangha are invited to attend this free event. Please pre-register and a link will be sent to you. T

As the summer solstice approaches, our planet is once again experiencing its hottest summer. May you stay cool if you are living in an area experiencing extreme heat and may you and your loved ones be safe if you are in an area close to wildfires.

Posted on

Newsette 6-5-2024

I returned from Tassajara on Sunday, after attending a deep and delightful retreat with Paul Haller and poet Naomi Shihab Nye. The summer is off to a robust start, with some retreats in addition to the many sangha weeks.

There are several wonderful practice opportunities coming up this week, as well as a leadership transition ceremony and a celebration of life for a long-time sangha member.

Kannon Do Zen Meditation Center in Mountain View CA will host a one-day sitting in their zendo on Saturday June 8, led by Sokaku Kathie Fischer. “If you are interested in attending there is still time to join. Please provide your contact info here  for more information.”

Akazienzedo in Berlin will host Tatsudo Nicole Baden Roshi, who will lead a Zen practice day on June 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the topic “Roots of Wisdom – What is the state of Zen practice in the West?” Participation is possible both on site and online. Nicole will become the Abbot of Zen Buddhist Center Black Forest, German in September, succeeding Zentatsu Richard Baker Roshi.

Greg Snyder, co-guiding teacher of Brooklyn Zen Center, will offer an eight week class on Karma and Collective Liberation starting June 13. “The whole of Buddhist ethics is grounded in the teaching of karma and rebirth. The intention of this course is to begin to provide a nuanced understanding of this complex and essential ethical principle.” The class takes place in person at the Millerton Zendo (Millerton, NY) and online, during eight consecutive Thursday evenings from 6:45 to 8:30pm.

San Antonio Zen Center shares an invitation to a celebration of life ceremony on Saturday June 8 for their long-time member Gerald Schulz, who died recently. I met Gerald when he came to Tassajara nearly every summer with his wife Pat and son G.

The transition ceremony at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, when Taigen Leighton will become Teacher Emeritus and Hogetsu Laurie Belzer will become the Guiding Teacher, will take place on Sunday June 9 at 10:15 a.m. CDT. It’s possible to attend by Zoom, with this link.

The next event in the Soto Zen Buddhist Associations series, Celebrating the Voices of Women in Buddhism features Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel on June 30 from 2 to 3:30 EDT online. Her theme will be “A Trace of Mahapajapati: The Elements of Dharma Transmission Woman to Woman

Joan Amaral, guiding teacher of Zen Center North Shore, wrote “I wanted to share this image with you and the Branching Streams Sanghas. I think it uplifts us all. JT was the ZCNS intern this spring as part of finishing his senior year of high school. We met through his World Religions class, which I’ve taught at his high school for the past decade.He learned the role of fukudo and became familiar with the han.” JT shared this image of the cap he wore to his graduation:

It’s Pride month in San Francisco and rainbow flags are flying on Market Street. I will be co-leading a Queer Dharma sangha week at Tassajara next week and will write again the week of June 17.

May you enjoy the long days as Summer Solstice approaches.