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2023 Branching Streams Gathering Debrief

Please read the full report summarizing the 2023 Branching Streams Gathering, hosted by Santa Cruz Zen Center with the support of Ocean Gate Zen Center and Monterey Bay Zen Center. The gathering was held at Villa Maria del Mar, a conference center overlooking the ocean in Santa Cruz, from September 18 – 21, 2023.

Participants in the 2023 Branching Streams Conference proposing sessions on Day 2.
Participants share updates from individual sanghas in 2 minute updates we called “Sangha Shorts.”
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Interview with Rev. Shundo Aoyama Roshi and Abbot Konjin Gaelyn Godwin

This feature is shared with permission from the Houston Zen Center July 2023 announcement.
Among Abbot Gaelyn Godwin’s many activities, one of the highlights for her was the opportunity to meet with the great teacher Aoyama Roshi, the Abbot of Aichi Senmon Sodo, a monastery for women in Nagoya, Japan. Aoyama Roshi is the first woman priest to hold the position of Seido at either of the head temples of Soto Zen. She is the Seido of Sojiji, the temple founded by Keizan Zenji. Rev. Godwin is the first woman to be appointed to the position of Director of the International Center of Soto Zen Buddhism, North America.

Interview with Rev. Shundo Aoyama Roshi and Abbot Konjin Gaelyn Godwin
Soto Zen headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, brought two important women teachers together in March 2022 at Aoyama Roshi’s monastery in Nagoya, Japan, to discuss the issue of gender equality in Soto Zen. This remarkable interview was edited into 5 parts and released in March 2023. It will be required viewing for Soto Zen training priests in Japan.

Gender equality is one of the important facets of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, which Soto Zen headquarters in Japan has been fully supporting and promoting.

You can view the full 5-part series on the Houston Zen Center website here.
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Hybrid Zoom Zendo Workshop

Thanks to everyone who attended our July 17, 2021 Hybrid Zoom Zendo Workshop, where we explored some of the ways various sanghas are approaching a hybrid in-person/virtual approach in these changing days of Covid-19. We’ve made available the video of the workshop below, as well as a link to the detailed notes prepared by each of the 5 presenters, many of which have direct links to the videos they showed, or technology used.

A very special thanks to Sandra, Reirin, Laurie and Anne who invested the time to walk us through their zendo setups in such detail, and to all who attended and shared their insights and thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in this important part of our evolving sanghas.

And below, please find the notes, photos, presentation links from each of the presenters: