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Branching Streams Newsette 2-1-2023

I flew to New York last week to visit a friend who is in hospice care in Brooklyn. While there, I was fortunate to be able to participate in Brooklyn Zen Center’s Saturday program, including a talk by Dojin Sarah Emerson. Sarah shared her responses to the many recent gun deaths in California and several other states. She articulated the grief many of us are feeling, and suggested ways we can acknowledge the pain, find resilience, and reach out to others.

The Brooklyn Zen Center felt like a place of refuge for me that morning, and likely was for the many sangha members who attended. I want to thank Sarah and co-guiding teacher Charlie Pokorny, and Director Ryan Wong for meeting with me while I was in Brooklyn and introducing me to their neighborhoods.

Some things to celebrate:

Welcome to a new Branching Streams affiliate, Forest City Zen Group in London, Ontario, Canada. Here’s the link to their website. Their teacher, Kuden Paul Boyle, recently received dharma transmission from Josho Pat Phelan, the guiding teacher of Chapel Hill (NC) Zen Center.

Sonoma Valley Zen recently had a lay entrustment ceremony for Silver John Hall, Ginzan Shoho  (Silver Mountain/Shining Practice). Silver, who received entrustment from his teacher Shosan Victoria Austin, has been assisting Kathryn Stark, the guiding teacher of SNZ, in leading the sangha.

Bernd Bender, guiding teacher of Akazienzendo in Berlin, wrote, “After seven years of practicing in Akazien Street in Berlin, we said goodbye to that space with a closing ceremony on January 26th.  We opened our new zendo on Tempelhhofer Ufer on January 29th with a small ceremony followed by tea and champagne.”  

Brattleboro Zen Center has moved to a dedicated space which allows them to expand their offerings.  Guiding teacher Hakusho Ostlund notes: “Having crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on our new lease and the required insurance, we are overjoyed to share that we have just moved into the Centre Congregational Church… Papers were signed Friday morning and the move completed the same afternoon, so that we were able to hold yesterday’s half-day sitting in the new zendo, getting more intimate with the space through sitting in it.”

On another note, the Branching Streams Website has been updated to receive your annual contribution for 2023. Your contribution can be made at any time during this calendar year. You can contribute electronically on the Branching Streams website, or with a check to San Francisco Zen Center with your sangha’s name on the memo line. Please send your check to 300 Page Street, San Francisco CA 94102, attention Tova Green. The suggested contribution is $100 for sanghas with fewer than 25 members and $250 for those with 25 or more members.

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Newsette January 18, 2023

It’s been two weeks since my New Year’s Newsette. The atmospheric river that has been drenching the West Coast with rain and snow has finally left, leaving much damage in its wake in California and other West Coast states as well as in British Columbia in Canada.

The Tassajara road was affected, though it has reopened, and Green Gulch experienced days without power. City Center had flooding in the basement and some floors need to be replaced. Despite this, the Winter practice period at Tassajara began last week and the City Center practice period will start next week.

This Newsette offers news of recent Lay Entrustments and Dharma Transmissions. I invite you to let me know when these ceremonies occur in your sanghas and will include them in the future.

At Berkeley Zen Center, on the morning of January 9, Abbot Hozan Alan Senauke offered Mary Duryee – Hokyo Josu/Original Home, Calm Center – a green rakusu and entrustment as a lay teacher in Berkeley Zen Center’s Soto lineage. After the ceremony Mary gave a short talk and took dharma questions from sangha members who attended both in person and online.

Santa Cruz Zen Center Practice Leader Gene Bush gave lay entrustment to Patrice Monsour, Eto Tetsudo/Wisdom Lamp, Penetrating Way, on January 14. Patrice gave a dharma talk on freedom of the heart and mind in the midst of suffering. She also spoke of the non-separation of her Zen and contemplative Catholic practices. Zooming in was one of her spiritual mentors, Br. David Steindl-Rast.

Josho Pat Phelan, guiding teacher of Chapel Hill Zen Center noted, “With deep joy, I announce that Jakuko Mo Ferrell, Zenki Kathleen Batson, and Kuden Paul Boyle have completed Dharma Transmission over the Winter Holidays at the Chapel Hill Zen Center.” Jakuko and Zenki practice at Chapel Hill Zen Center. Kuden lives in London, Ontario and leads Forest City Zen Group.

Milwaukee Zen Center’s resident priest, Reirin Gumbel, invites us to a Zoom presentation on Meditation for Healing and Transformation by her friend in China, Dr. Zhenbao Jin on February 7 at 6 p.m. CT. His life goal has focused on supporting others in their physical and mental healing. Reirin writes, “He has had amazing success with his own healing and is excited now to share his wisdom with us.” Here is The Zoom Link.

I will be visiting Brooklyn next week to visit a high school friend who is in hospice care there and hope to attend the Saturday morning program at Brooklyn Zen Center.

May our practice and sangha relationships keep us warm in the middle of winter.

Taigen Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate’s guiding teacher, highly recommends reading a “very sensible” article by Rebecca Solnit, ‘If you win the popular imagination, you change the game’: why we need new stories on climate. Taigen says the article “presents real potentials and dispels unrealistic apocalyptic de

I will be visiting Brooklyn next week to visit a high school friend who is in hospice care there and hope to attend the Saturday morning program at Brooklyn Zen Center.

May our practice and sangha relationships keep us warm in the middle of winter.

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Newsette 1-5-2023

I’m writing as wind is gusting and rain is splashing against my windows. We’ve had a lot of rain in the past ten days. Despite flooding in the basement of 340 Page Street, and a rainy night, we had daisoji, longevity noodles, zazen, bellringing and a bonfire on New Year’s eve – as did many branching streams sanghas.

I wish all of you, and your sanghas, well-being in 2023, including good health, prosperity, and nourishing connections internally and with your wider communities.

This Newsette contains news from three Zen Centers and from San Francisco Zen Center.

Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, CA posted an encouraging story in their December newsletter: “Many of us have been caring for and supporting the Afghan family who came to Sacramento as refugees about 6 months ago. We have contributed to their resettlement in many ways (donations, gifts of needed items like pots and pans, shoes, a TV, bedding, etc.), prayers, and well-being ceremonies. Some of us met Mohammad and his brother at the Potluck gathering to welcome this family to our city. The family has been very grateful for all of the help they received.  Through the GoFundMe account we raised $10,000, primarily to cover their rent.   Last week they bravely participated in interviews as the last step in their applications for asylum.   Their lawyer felt the interviews went extremely well; however, it will be several months before they know the results.  

“The important update is that Mohammad has been offered a good job in Chicago with benefits and the potential for educational opportunities.  So, they are now moving to Chicago, leaving next week.  They express their gratitude over and over again for all of the support and love they have experienced from our community.   This base we provided for them has offered them a foundation, perhaps enabling them to take this next brave step in crafting their lives here in the USA. Please continue to keep their wellbeing and safety in your hearts.”

Tenshin Reb Anderson, Senior Dharma Teacher of San Francisco Zen Center, and the honorary founder of Houston Zen Center, leads a 5-day residential retreat at Houston Zen Center’s Auspicious Cloud Retreat Center from Tuesday, February 21 toSunday afternoon on February 26, 2023. The theme is “The Bodhisattva’s Joyful Practice in the World of Suffering.”

Zen Center North Shore (MA) has launched a podcast. In a recent episode, Guiding Teacher Joan Amaral talks about how we go beyond categories, not to “bypass difference and contrast” but to experience something deeper. The podcast can be found on Anchor at https://anchor.fm/zcnspodcast

Some news from San Francisco Zen Center:

Tassajara will be open this summer for Sangha Weeks led by Branching Streams teachers and SFZC’s Abbots and Senior Dharma Teachers. Invitations have been sent to the Branching Streams groups that signed up in 2022, when the guest season was cancelled. If you are interested in going to Tassajara with your sangha this summer and did not sign up in 2022, please let me know, as there may be some openings.

Enso Village, the Zen-inspired Senior Living Community which will open in autumn 2023, has a job opening for the full-time position Head of Spiritual Life. The job description is on Linked In:    Job Posting – Head of Spiritual Life

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Newsette 12-12-2022

This will be my last Newsette of 2022. It has been a year of reopening, joyfully, though slowly and cautiously, for many Branching Streams Zen Centers.  Some highlights for me were the Branching Streams Conference in April, hosted by Austin Zen Center, and my road trip to visit sanghas in Arcata, Ashland, Bellingham, and Vancouver in late September and early October.

We celebrated Buddha’s Enlightenment at City Center on Saturday morning, December 12th as did with many Branching Streams sanghas. The leadership of Zen Center North Shore (MA) offered this description in their newsletter:

“On this Rohatsu, we commemorate Shakyamuni Buddha’s attainment of anuttara samyaksambodhi — supreme perfect enlightenment. Across the world, Zen practitioners will be united in practice and joined by our collective aspiration toward awakening. What a beautiful and powerful expression of love and compassion. May you also find deep peace and equanimity at this most precious time.”

We will soon be celebrating the solstice and other holidays involving light, leading up to New Year’s Eve and morning. From Massachusetts to British Columbia, Branching Streams groups will be transitioning from the old year to the new with traditional Zen practices and unique adaptations.

Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, B.C. is Sitting and Chanting for Peace on New Year’s Eve from 8 p.m. to midnight. “Join Mountain Rain and friends from other sanghas in our annual New Year’s Eve retreat to cultivate peace in our hearts, our families, our communities, and in our world.” Please register for in-person attendance; you can also join on zoom.

Zen Center North Shore will usher in the new year on the morning of January 1 with two periods of zazen, a brief ceremony to welcome 2023, and a courageous, purifying dip in the [Atlantic] ocean!

On another note, Colin Gipson, guiding teacher of San Antonio Zen Center, who will retire in 2023, asked me to share the attached announcement, the result of several meetings with the transition committee and the Board.

If you read stories to children, you may enjoy Laura Burges’s Buddhist Stories for Kids: Jataka Tales of Kindness, Friendship, and Forgiveness, published by Shambhala on December 6. Laura is a seasoned storyteller, children’s educator, and SFZC teacher who received lay entrustment from Eijun Linda Cutts. Laura says, “My wish is for the book to reach as many children and their parents as possible. I wish I could have read this book to my daughter Nova when she was little!” I interviewed Laura for this week’s SFZC Sangha News if you’d like to know more.

I hope to visit Branching Streams groups on the East Coast in 2023. And I look forward to seeing more of you in person at the conference we’re planning in Santa Cruz, September 11 to 14.

I wish you good health and joy in your practice and sangha life.

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Newsette 12-1-2022

I am writing this Newsette on the first day of December. It is raining this morning in the San Francisco Bay Area, the rain greatly welcomed, as our umbrellas and raincoats have not been used in many months. In a few days we’ll begin Rohatsu sesshin at City Center and offer our annual memorial service to Suzuki Roshi.

At this time of year, many Branching Streams groups are fundraising while they are preparing for Rohatsu Sesshin and Buddha’s enlightenment ceremonies. I am including excerpts from several fundraising appeals to illustrate a range of ways in which Branching Streams centers, small and large, are raising funds to support their teachers and care for their meeting spaces.

Taigen Leighton, the guiding teacher of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago writes: “As we approach year’s end, Ancient Dragon is in transition. The next Sunday, December 4th, we will hold a Rohatsu all-day sitting and a temple dedication ceremony for our lovely new Lincoln Square interim zendo. However, the sitting is already full to capacity. Numbers of regular ADZG participants will not be able to attend….The great interest in our all-day sittings is heartening, and we will hold more all-day sittings early next year. This highlights our need for a larger full-time space. We are actively working to locate and finance a building for a long-term Chicago temple. We also are working to develop and enhance our hybrid zoom/ in-person technology to integrate our in-person sangha and our many fine remote practitioners.

Please consider giving to Ancient Dragon Zen Gate so that we may continue to provide our practice and teaching offerings. Your gift will help us in the search for a new practice location while continuing to make the Dharma available online.

Brooklyn Zen Center’s director, Ryan Wong, wrote in their December newsletter: “We are entering the final days of our Fall Practice Period, themed “Repose and Bliss, Engagement and Liberation.” We face the monumental challenges of racial and patriarchal violence, ecological catastrophe, eroding political systems, the global pandemic, and more. “Repose,” in this context, is no indulgent or self-interested activity. The Ancient Greek paúō means “cease, stop, hinder, halt”: repose is not passivity, but interrupting harmful systems.

“This requires us to move against the stream and can create a space for repose—to build sangha (community) in a society that makes us individuals, to offer practices based not in profit but in vow. In a capitalist system, robust finances are considered their own measure of organizational health. For us, they are only an outward manifestation of our deeper practice intentions. This flow of resources between the sangha and temple enables us to deliver our offerings to the entire community.

“Our End of Year fundraising goal is $100,000. We raised $88,074 last year and we are increasing our goal to build our new Equity-Based Model making our programs more accessible, stipend our teachers and hire staff, and meet the expanded activity at our two temples.”

Austin Zen Center’s Membership Committee member Todd Cornett writes: “I look forward to the season, but with a bit of unease from the demanding social rules of exchange. So I am thankful for our Rohatsu sesshin winter retreat, Dec.2nd – Dec.9th. During this time, before serving each meal, we say “…now we set out Buddha’s bowls. May we, with all beings, realize the emptiness of the three wheels: giver, receiver, and gift.” That is, as Zen practitioners we remember at each meal that giving is life—that everything is giving, everything is given. There are no separate givers, receivers, or gifts. All of life is always giving and receiving at the same time. The three wheels empty into just the act of giving.”

Stacy Waymire, Co-Guiding Teacher and Board President of Ashland Zen Center (OR), penned a letter which ends with these words: “As we look around our world, it is clear that to live a life of value is difficult…It is only in this one moment, with this one life, that we have been given the opportunity to help bend the arch of existence toward loving kindness…To help and encourage us, spiritual communities come together and places of practice are established where we cultivate wisdom and compassion. A great bow of thanks to everyone who generously shared your financial, material, and physical donations that have maintained Ashland Zen Center this year. If Ashland Zen Center is important to you, please take the time now to renew your pledge, begin your pledge, or make a donation to sustain Soto Zen Buddhist practice and programs in the future.”

“This weekend marked my ten-year anniversary as a Zen priest,” writes Hakusho Ostlund, guiding teacher of Brattleboro Zen Center (VT). “I’ve been celebrating it by reflecting on the marvelous accompaniment I’ve enjoyed on this path…And, in the last 20 months, the members and supporters of Brattleboro Zen Center, contributing to the establishment of a thriving Zen community in our quaint little Vermont town. Your practice and generosity support me to engage in the most meaningful kind of work: to guide the practice and Sangha growth of a Zen community.

“Having grown beyond this beginning, I’m now thrilled to report that the BZC is seriously considering renting our own dedicated zendo space. Due to the generous support from local Sangha members, whose financial contributions have surpassed expectations set by our Board, renting our own space is, though a significant leap, imaginable! …Whether we’ll rent our own space or a shared space that will better meet our current and near future needs, we’re going to need to grow our current budget of $10,000 significantly. Your generosity now will help shape the direction of Brattleboro Zen Center in the new year.”

I find these words encouraging and inspiring and hope you will as well.

May the coming month and the celebrations from Buddha’s Enlightenment to solstice and to New Year’s be sustaining and enlivening for you.

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Newsette 11-15-2022

As I write, some of you will be in Los Angeles, and others on your way there, to participate in the five-day Precept Retreat (Jukai-e ceremony) celebrating 100 years since the founding of Zenshuji Soto Zen temple in Los Angeles.

The flyer for this event (attacjed) says: “During the last 100 years, Soto Zen Buddhism spread across North America and there are now over 200 temples and Zen centers and 800 Soto Zen priests. Though many of their dharma lineages share the same roots, they have become so diverse and complex that they are often unaware of the presence of their distant dharma relatives. On this occasion…we are going back to the root of our origin and once again share the Jukai-e ceremony with our dharma brothers and sisters.”

If you are attending the ceremony and would like to share some of your experiences, impressions, or photos on the Branching Streams website, please send them to me and I will compile and post them.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week for those of us in the U.S. and I will be taking some personal time. The next Newsette will be the week of November 28.

Here’s news from Branching Streams Zen teachers in Rome, Italy and Jalapa, Mexico, an update about the network of sitting groups in England called Dancing Mountains Zen Community, and a message from the Director of Tassajara.

Dario Girolami, Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco in Rome

led a meditation and gave a dharma talk at the Forum, in the Temple of Venus and Rome, on November 4. The topics of his talk ranged “from the fire of Nero to the Buddha’s Fire Sermon, from the cypress trees of the Sacred Way to Joshu’s Cypress in the Courtyard…in the place where Julius Caesar, Octavian Augustus and Marcus Aurelius walked.” Dario was joined by his sangha and his wife Annalisa. “It has been a very deep experience for me.” It clarified his living koan about “why I was born in Rome with a clear Buddhist vocation.”

The guiding teacher of Montana Despierta Zen in Jalapa, Mexico, Sergio Stern, recently published his book The empty bowl. Contributions of a psychoanalyst to the study of buddhadharma. His book expresses what Sergio has learned in 25 years of practicing as a psychoanalyst and a Zen student about the connections between these two disciplines.

The Secretary of Dancing Mountains Zen Sangha UK, Michael Elssmere, sent a document (attached) tracing the history and current status of a group of sanghas that organized under the umbrella of Dancing Mountains in 2012. This structure connected groups that formed after Tenshin Reb Anderson’s many visits to the UK . Dancing Mountains supports the various sanghas financially and by arranging UK wide retreats and the UK tours of SFZC teachers in various parts of England.

Please share the following with your sanghas: Tassajara is offering a full scholarship for the Winter 2023 practice period to anyone who has completed at least one Tassajara practice period and would be interested in working in the kitchen. An application will need to be submitted, but no payment or use of practice period credits will be required. There are five spaces available. Please contact the Tassajara director at zmcdirector@sfzc.org before November 21 for details.

I wish you safe travels if you are traveling and a nourishing time wherever you are.

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Newsette 11-7-2022

“The chilly, wet days of fall have arrived at last, the early is gratefully absorbing the needed rain,” write Kate McCandless and Michael Newton, the guiding teachers of Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, BC. We’re also appreciating some rainy in the Bay Area after many dry months.

This Newsette includes two mournings, two literary launchings, and a request from Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

At City Center we rang the densho 108 times for Layla Smith Bockhorst, who died on Thursday, November 3 at home, supported by family and sangha members. Layla was the guiding teacher for Branching Streams groups Open Circle in Helena MT and Mountain Source in Bolinas and Larkspur CA. She and her husband Jim came to SFZC in the early 70’s.

Mid City Zen in New Orleans LA has been grieving the loss of their friend, former board chair, and long-time Mid City Zen sangha member, Billy Southern. They joined with Houston Zen Center, where he was also active, in holding a weekly memorial service for 49 days. The closing ceremony will be on November 17.

Celebrations:  David  Guy, a long-time student at Chapel Hill Zen Center in NC, is launching his sixth novel,  Hank Heals: A Novel of Miracles.  It’s about a Zen teacher who supposedly has healing powers. Norman Fischer wrote in a blurb about the book, “In the course of the story we learn a lot of real stuff about Zen practice, zazen, and why people need to do it—and, not incidentally, about healing: physically, psychically, spiritually.  You will enjoy and learn from this book.” It will be published by Monkfish on November 22.

Guiding teacher of Mill Valley Zen, Marc Lesser, writes:  “I’m so excited to announce the launch of my brand-new podcast, Zen Bones: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times. “Why Zen Bones? Our world is in crisis and ever-shifting, and now more than ever, more wisdom, clarity, and courage are essential, especially in the world of work, business, and leadership.” This weekly 30-minute podcast will alternate between interviews (including Leo Babauta, Peter Coyote, and Jane Hirshfield), and teachings from Marc.

Tassajara is looking for kitchen volunteers with practice experience either at Tassajara or other silent retreat settings to support a retreat for wildland firefighters from January 2 – 11. This retreat will provide firefighters with much needed refuge, rest and renewal, as well as training in mindfulness, meditation, and sensory awareness. Preference will be given to those who can commit for the entire retreat. Please contact Lauren at zmcdirector@sfzc.org.

Tension is in the air about tomorrow’s elections in the U.S. So much rests on this election. If you are eligible to vote, please vote.

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Rakusu Sewing with Hogetsu Laurie Belzer

The following is a guest feature shared from the Zen Center North Shore newsletter written by Joshua Archer.

Laurie Belzer Headshot
Dharma teacher Hogetsu Laurie Belzer

This past weekend (Oct 8-10, 2022), ZCNS had the honor of hosting dharma teacher Hogetsu Laurie Belzer, who was visiting from Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. For three full days, Laurie offered rakusu robe sewing instruction to ZCNS students preparing to receive the precepts in a jukai (lay ordination) ceremony later this year.

With sangha members fully present to support them, the students preparing to receive the precepts each sewed Buddha’s robe in an exacting method and pattern that has been transmitted, warm hand to warm hand, for centuries. This is a deeply devotional practice that affirms their vows, connects them to our lineage, and brings us all together in community. During Laurie’s time with us, many sangha members came forward to offer food and support, and to help the students stitch. It was beautiful to share this practice together.

We were also honored to receive a dharma talk from Laurie during her visit. Her talk explored the importance of community in our collective awakening.

We were so grateful to once again have Laurie here as a guest teacher, sharing her wisdom and compassion and connecting us to this vital tradition of sewing.

Thank you, Laurie!

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Newsette – 11-1-2022

Election day in the U.S. is a week from today, November 8. Taigen Leighton, guiding teacher of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago, IL, wrote in his sangha newsletter:

“PLEASE VOTE, whether in person, in early voting, or by mail. People from many states receive this message. In all those states many key issues related to our bodhisattva values of benefiting all beings and expressing awakening and kindness will be on the ballot. This election will have major impacts for all of us. We value our deep interconnectedness with the natural landscape, now under threat. This election’s results may seriously hamper any appropriate measures to address world-wide climate breakdown…Further, this election will decide the situation of women’s healthcare, and whether local or national politicians will determine doctors’ and women patients’ health decisions… Moreover, amid massive voter suppression and an atmosphere of hate speech and violence, this election will decide whether our right to vote and our nation’s democracy will might continue. This is not hyperbole. This is not a drill. Please vote and support others to vote.”

Many Branching Streams Zen Centers and sanghas are opening to in-person events, including one-day sittings and longer sesshins. Looking ahead to Rohatsu sesshin, here are offerings from sanghas in several regions of the U.S. (this is not a complete list).

Hartford Street Zen Center’s SZC’s Winter Light Retreat is scheduled to begin the evening of Wednesday, November 30 and end mid-day on Sunday, December 4. HSZC is located in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. “Everyone is welcome to attend (all or in part) but please do let us know by emailing info@hszc.org. A more formal schedule will be posted as we near the start date.” This retreat will be in-person though it’s not residential.

Ashland Zen Center (OR) is offering Rohatsu Sesshin from December 5 to 11. Overnight accommodations are available. Guiding teachers Ramana and Stacey Waymire describe this retreat: “Sesshin means touching-uniting heart-mind.  Rohatsu (‘eighth day of the twelfth month’) is the day the Buddha, sitting upright under the Bodhi Tree, attained enlightenment together with all beings.  Rohatsu sesshin is the cornerstone of our year of practice…

Although we say that Rohatsu is a seven-day sesshin that begins on December 5, Rohatsu actually begins the moment we meet it and say yes. This is your invitation. Say yes and let Rohatsu begin.

Houston Zen Center is hosting an in-person residential Rohatsu Sesshin from December 7 to 12. “Deepen meditation practice and gather the mind during this 5-day intensive meditation practice being held at Auspicious Cloud Retreat Center and led by Abbot Gaelyn Godwin and Rev. Tim Schorre.
Rohatsu means “great cold” and sesshin means “gather the mind.” This is an annual meditation retreat in the cold time of the year, to gather the mind. Historically, it honors Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment.”

Austin Zen Center will end its Fall Practice Period with Rohatsu Sesshin from December 2 to 9. More information will be available on their website soon.

Brooklyn Zen Center offers an in-person non-residential Rohatsu retreat from December 7 to 11, co-led by Kosen Gregory Snyder, Shingetsu Laura O’Loughlin, Kidō Ian Case, Sarah Dōjin Emerson and Charlie Korin Pokorny, at their Boundless Mind Temple in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

An online sesshin is offered by Two Streams Zen Sanctuary, located in Western MA and Portugal,  “a dedicated practice space for People of Color where the Teachings of the Buddha are made accessible to all who come through our doors seeking Sanity, Community, Healing, and an End to Suffering.” Guiding teachers Ryumon and Anraku write in their newsletter: “Our Virtual Autumn Practice Period continues. We will intensify and deepen our practice with Rohatsu Sesshin starting on Wednesday, 30 November through Wednesday, 7 December. There is a place for you at the table.” To join, please send an email to: twostreamszen@gmail.com.

I will close with these words from Ryumon and Anraku:

May these days be blessed times
of contemplation and practice, together with all beings.

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Newsette 10-24-2022

Sejiki is approaching, the time to welcome and feed the hungry ghosts everywhere, including within us. Here’s a photo of Austin Zen Center’s outdoor altar last year, taken by Choro Antonaccio:

This Newsette features several programs highlighting social, racial, and climate justice offered by Branching Streams sanghas and teachers in different locations in the U. S. and Canada.

Valley Stream Zen Sangha in Sacramento CA is hosting Racial and Social Justice as Dharma Practice: A Multi Sangha Program open to all facilitated by Hoka Chris Fortin and Paravrtti Doralee Grindler Katonah, monthly on Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m. PDT.  The next meeting is September 29, 2022.

The Racial and Social Justice as Dharma Practice Group is committed to study, intimate investigation and conversation, and embodied bodhisattva practice to actualize personal and collective freedom for all beings. If you are interested in joining this group please emailchrisfortin@comcast.net or grindkaton@icloud.com. The zoom link is sent out each month.

The Engaged Buddhist Practice committee at Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver B.C. will show the new documentary by Stand.earth, Fracking the Peace on October 27 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. PDT, both in-person at 2016 Wall Street, Vancouver and on Zoom. The Zoom link will be posted to the Events page on the Mountain Rain ZC website. Watch the film trailer.

Abbot Gaelyn Godwin of Houston Zen Center will participate in a nation-wide program sponsored by Buddhist Global Relief On October 29, at their Buddhist Action to Feed Hungry online Dharma gathering, “Creating a More Compassionate World.” “We’ll be featuring speakers from our partner organizations who will share extraordinary stories about the wonderful projects made possible by your generosity—in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, India, and Uganda. We’ll also be sharing reflections on ways to create a more compassionate world from outstanding Dharma teachers—Joseph Goldstein, Bhante Buddharakkhita, Roshi Gaelyn Godwin, Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, and Bhante Saranapala.”

Here is a message from Hozan Alan Senauke, Abbot of Berkeley CA Zen Center: “This was just published at BuddhistDoor Global. Please sign the petition and share this piece widely:”

Please send me news of residential retreats or one-day sittings for next week’s Newsette.