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Branching Streams Newsette 6-28-2021

Some good news about Tassajara: the 2021 Willow Fire is 73% contained and Tassajara is no longer in critical danger. As Tassajara is still under an evacuation warning status, the Tassajara Fire Crew will remain there until further notice. SFZC thanks all of those who have been following the situation and keeping Tassajara in your thoughts.

Updates about the Willow fire are posted on the SFZC website.

Many sanghas are partially reopening while continuing to make their offerings available via Zoom. If you would like some support with the technical side of this transition, you may wish to attend:

A Branching Streams Workshop

After Covid — Technology and the Zendo, A Practical Approach

Facilitated by Jon Voss

Saturday, July 17, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. PDT/12:00-1:30 p.m. EDT

 Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode:057143

By popular demand, we’re offering a 90 minute online program to explore how various sanghas are making their temples accessible with technology. We’ll be going behind the scenes at a handful of hybrid zendos to learn what technology solutions people have come up with, from computer and a/v hardware to aesthetic and privacy considerations. We’ll also leave ample time for Q&A so you can ask your own questions about various technology setups. No registration is needed. Please share this invitation with your sangha members.

Jon Voss’s Zoom clinic, which was launched in March 2020, is now meeting every two weeks. The next meeting is this Wednesday, June 30, from 11 to 12 PDT. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode:057143.

 On Sunday, July 4, Taigen Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate’s guiding teacher will give his annual Interdependence Day talk, celebrating the intersection of American ideals of freedom with Buddhist liberation. 

I wish you all a nourishing Interdependence Day weekend.

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Branching Streams Newsette 6-21-2021

This has been an eventful week for Branching Streams as well as for many in the U.S.

Last Thursday we held our first online gathering of European/British Branching Streams Teachers and Leaders. The Branching Streams Advisory Group met to plan our next workshop. And many sanghas celebrated the summer solstice as well as the new U.S. national holiday, Juneteenth, a recognition of emancipation from slavery as well as of all the ways in which African Americans still are not free.

You may have heard about the Willow fire, which began on June 17, three miles from Tassajara. Most residents were evacuated the next morning and fire crews are on site. The best way to get updates about the fire is on the sfzc.org website.

The workshop below evolved from the breakout group on hybrid zendos Jon Voss led at our Branching Streams Flow On conference on May 22nd:

A Branching Streams Workshop

After Covid — Technology and the Zendo, A Practical Approach

Facilitated by Jon Voss

Saturday, July 17, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. PDT/12:00-1:30 p.m. EDT

By popular demand, we’re offering a 90 minute online program to explore how various sanghas are making their temples accessible with technology. We’ll be going behind the scenes at a handful of hybrid zendos to learn what technology solutions people have come up with, from computer and a/v hardware to aesthetic and privacy considerations. We’ll also leave ample time for Q&A so you can ask your own questions about various technology setups. No registration is needed. We’ll send a Zoom link closer to the time of the event.

Last week eighteen teachers and leaders from Britain and nine countries in Europe (Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Northern Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland), met via Zoom.

Participants discussed ways to build the connections between all the groups represented. There was also shared interest in exploring how Zen training, including chaplaincy training, can evolve in Europe, responses to the climate crisis, and how groups can continue to benefit from the positive aspects of Zoom as in-person meetings become possible again.

Welcome to Branching Stream’s new affiliate, Brattleboro Zen Center in Vermont, whose guiding teacher is Hakusho Johan Ostland. Hakusho trained at Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara and was ordained by GGF Abiding Abbess Fu Schroeder.

Austin Zen Center is seeking a new Administrative Assistant. – to support day-to-day temple management in collaboration with senior leadership. This ~30hr/wk. position requires a consistently warm and welcoming presence, someone technologically inclined and extremely well-organized. Read more…Prospective candidates may apply via our our Indeed Posting

Jon Voss’s Zoom clinic will not meet this week and will be back on Wednesday, June 30th

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Branching Streams Newsette 6-14-021

I’ve had several meetings today regarding Branching Streams and want to share with you two events we are planning.

The first is a meeting of European teachers and leaders in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, which will occur this Thursday, June 17th. There will be about fifteen participants from Zen Centers and sanghas in eight countries. This initial meeting will provide an opportunity for networking and sharing common concerns and resources. I will report on it in my next Newsette.

The Branching Streams Advisory Group met today to debrief our May 22 gathering, Branching Streams Flow On, and to plan our next offering, on “hybrid zendos.” Many centers are beginning to reopen for in-person zazen and other programs, while wanting to stay connected with sangha members who live at a distance. We will have a description of the program and a date soon.

Jon Voss’s Zoom clinic will meet twice this month, on Wednesdays June 16th and 30th from 11 a.m. to noon PDT. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode:057143.

Joan Amaral of Zen Center North Shore shared news of an important series, Abuse, Sex, and the Sangha: Conversations for Healing, hosted by Buddhist Currents. On Saturday, June 26, from 3:30 to 5 p.m ET, they will offer “Speaking As, With, and For Survivors” with Lama Willa Miller, Chozen Bays Roshi, Rev. Grace Shireson, and Carol Merchasin. You can register in advance here.

Several years ago, Hakusho Johan Ostland, a San Francisco Zen Center priest, was a Branching Streams intern at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. Hakusho now lives in Vermont, where he is establishing the Brattleboro Zen Center. He will return to Ancient Dragon to give an online summer solstice talk on June 20th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. CST.

May you enjoy these days of longest sunshine as we approach the summer solstice.

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Newsette 6-3-2021

It is now early June, and summer solstice is only a few weeks away. I’ve been reading some of your newsletters and notice that some Zen Centers are beginning to open their zendos to in-person zazen and to half-day or daylong retreats. Other groups are taking advantage of the longer days and warm weather to hold sittings and daylong retreats outside. As we in the U.S. continue to venture out and reconnect with friends and family, I’m aware of the many parts of the world in which this is still not possible.

For those of you who attended Branching Streams Flow On two weeks ago, please complete the Survey I emailed yesterday so we can use your suggestions for planning our next offerings. For everyone, if you’d like to watch Teresa Bouza’s seven-minute video of nature photos and words, here’s the link.

I will be on vacation next week and my next Newsette will be sent the week of June 14th.

Zoom Clinics with Jon Voss will be offered every two weeks instead of weekly, on Wednesdays from 11 to noon PDT, June 16 and 30. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode:057143.

Here are a few offerings coming up this weekend and next week, all online.

Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, CA is offering “Allowing Emptiness to Fill the Page,” a one-day Zen and Writing retreat on Saturday, June 5from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT, led by author and lay Zen teacher Beth Jacobs. one-day retreat and writing workshop led by author and lay Zen teacher Beth Jacobs, Ph.D.

Sandra Barros Pena will be giving the June 6 Sunday dharma talk on “The Bodhisattva Vows as Heart-Based Action” at Zen Center North Shore at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Sandra will be Zooming in from Argentina where she works in a community clinic with women who have experienced sexual abuse or gender violence.

At Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, the Sunday morning talk on June 6th (zazen at 9:30, talk at 10:10 CDT) will be given by anthropologist Juan Pablo Restrepo, their participant from Patagonia in Argentina, speaking on “Spiritual Practice in the Age of Ecological Crisis.”

Also on Sunday June 6, Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver, BC will have a memorial service for the 215 native children whose remains were discovered recently on the grounds of one of Canada’s largest residential schools in Kamloops—”holding the grieving communities in our hearts.”

Alan Senauke, Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, is part of a team producing the Burma Spring Film Festival June 4 – 13. He says, “Extraordinary films and beautifully constructed panels, all of which throw a bright light on life in Burma/Myanmar today.”

May you be well.

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Newsette – May 24, 2021

It was wonderful to see so many of you at Saturday’s gathering, Branching Streams Flow On. Thirty-five Branching Streams sanghas in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Greece participated. Three themes were highlighted through Abbot Gaelyn Godwin’s talk on “The Climate of Our Time” and  breakout groups on Climate Chaos, The Sacred Work of Racial Justice, and Transitioning to Hybrid Zendo Offerings.

This is a time of transition for many Zen Centers, including San Francisco Zen Center. At City Center we had our first in-person work circle this morning after 15 months of Zoom work meetings.  Several sanghas are doing member surveys as they make plans to reopen while maintaining the capacity to include online participation.

You can bring your questions about anything related to Zoom to Jon Voss’s Zoom Clinic which meets on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to noon, Pacific time. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.

Most of you will be reading this Newsette on May 25th, the one year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. This year has brought a heightened awareness of racial injustice in the U.S. Pamela Ayo Yetunde, Community Dharma Leader, Zen practitioner, chaplain, and author is offering George Floyd, the Bodhisattva’s Cry, and the Paramita of Persistence, a San Francisco Zen Center program on Thursday June 10th from 4 to 6 p.m. PT.

Last summer Branching Streams offered our first course, Unpacking Whiteness led by Crystal Johnson. If you missed it, a similar course led by Crystal is being offered by the Soto Zen Buddhist Association: Unpacking Whiteness; exploring the delusion of race from a Buddhist perspective. Dates: June 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 1-3:30 Pacific.For more information or to register: www.szba.org/courses .” This event will benefit the East Bay Meditation Center and fund the initiation of the SZBA’s BIPOC Support Fund; a fund to support Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Soto Zen lineages.

Taigen Leighton is offering an Online Seminar on Dogen’s Being Time and view of temporality, and its implications for Joanna Macy’s teaching of Deep Time and reinhabiting time, on Saturday, June 19th from 2pm to 5:30 p.m. EST/11am to 2:30pm PST. For more information or to register contact: info@ancientdragon.org.

In a prior Newsette I shared an invitation from the Zen Buddhist Sewing Teachers and Everyday Zen to participate in their first 6-month practice period, “Sew With Heart.”  It begins on June 3rd. The entire schedule is on the registration form. If you wish to participate, please register before May 28th.

Royce Johnson of Houston Zen Center received a request from a practitioner in  the U.K. who writes:  “My name is Christopher Jarrell and I am a retired social worker and counsellor, and I am autistic. I live in the UK and have been a practicing Buddhist for about thirty years. I’m researching for a book with a working title of Buddhism, Sangha and Autism: An Anthology of Personal Stories, which has been accepted for publication by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (London and New York). I’m writing to ask for your help in reaching out to potential autistic Buddhist contributors.” If you know sangha members who might like to contribute to this anthology they can contact Christopher directly. His email address is chris@jarrell.karoo.co.uk .

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Newsette May 17, 2021

We are less than a week from our Spring Gathering, Branching Streams Flow On, Saturday, May 22 from 9 a.m. to noon PT/noon to 3 p.m. ET. Registration is free of charge and is open to sangha members as well as teachers and leaders. Thank you to those who have registered and/or shared the invitation in your newsletters. An abbreviated program is on the Branching Streams website. You can still Register Here or from the website.

Jon Voss’s Zoom Clinic this Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT will focus on the many ways to use Breakout Groups. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.

Since February, in addition to my weekly Newsettes, I’ve been writing weekly blogs for San Francisco Zen Center’s Sangha News. I recently wrote about our refreshed Branching Streams website. Here’s the link.

For details and applications forms for Tassajara’s summer student work opportunities and Fall Practice period, here’s the link to another Sangha News article.

Another blog focuses on Dario Girolomi, Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco in Rome, who is creating a network of chaplains in countries connected with the European Buddhist Union.

Charlie Pokorny from Stone Creek Zen Center, asked me to share this with you: Stone Creek Zen Center in Sonoma County California is seeking a new head priest. Please read the job description here for more information.

If you’ve missed hearing Chenxing Han, who has spoken at several Branching Streams sanghas since her book Be the Refuge, Raising the Voices of Young American Buddhists was released in January, she and Rev. Dana Takagi will be giving a live-streamed  dharma talk on Saturday May 29at 10 a.m.PT  at San Francisco Zen Center.

There are some wonderful offerings coming in June, which I’ll share in next week’s Newsette.

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Newsette May 11, 2021

Please register for our spring gathering, Branching Streams Flow On, Saturday, May 22 from 9 a.m. to noon PT/noon to 3 p.m. ET. Registration is free of charge and is open to sangha members as well as teachers and leaders. Please consider posting this invitation in your sangha’s newsletter.

The gathering features Konjin Gaeyln Godwin, Abbot of Houston Zen Center, speaking about The Climate of Our Time, followed by breakout groups on three topics of interest to many sanghas – the climate crisis, the sacred work of racial justice, and creating hybrid zendos and events. There will be time to connect with one another in small groups, watch a video of our nature photos, enjoy music, and participate in a ceremony.

Jon Voss will be offering the breakout group on hybrid zen offerings at the May 22nd event. For more focused attention on your questions about anything related to Zoom, you are welcome to join his weekly Zoom Clinic on Wednesday May 12from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT. Sangha members who are hosting Zoom events including zazen, service, classes, etc. are invited to attend. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.

If you missed last week’s May We Gather Ceremony or if you’d like to watch again or share with others, the recording is available here: https://www.maywegather.org/livestream and also directly on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=665Gf6yyzVQ

There has also been some thoughtful press coverage of the event with lovely photos:

Norman Fischer, founder and guiding teacher of Everyday Zen, is launching his new book, When You Greet Me I Bow, Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen, edited by Cynthia Schrager, on Tuesday,  May 18th at 6 p.m. PT. The free online reading is sponsored by Book People in San Francisco. You can register and get more information at this link

“Looking backwards at a life lived, walking forward into more life to live built on all that, trying not to be too much influenced by what’s already been said and done, not to be held to a point of view or an identity previously expressed, trying to be surprised and undone and maybe even dismayed by what lies ahead.” —Norman Fischer If you are a Bob Dylan fan, you may wish to attend Ancient Dragon Zen Gate’s ZAZEN AND DHARMA TALK BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON: BOB DYLAN’S 80TH BIRTHDAY Sunday May 23, 2021 @ 9:30am – 11:30am CT. The talk features three of Taigen’s favorite Dylan Songs. Looking farther ahead, Taigen Leighton is offering an Online Seminar on Dogen’s Being Time and view of temporality, and its implications for Joanna Macy’s teaching of Deep Time and reinhabiting time, on Saturday, June 19th from 2pm to 5:30 p.m. EST/11am to 2:30pmPST. For more information or to register contact: info@ancientdragon.org. In recent newsletters from Valley Streams Zen Sangha in Sacramento, California, I learned about two unusual ceremonies, one marking a birth and the other commemorating a death. With the help of Jim Hare, the residing teacher, I interviewed two sangha members and wrote a short feature for the Branching Streams website, called “A Sangha Meets Birth and Death Ceremonially.” Here’s the link if you’d like to read it.   Laurel Ross, a priest at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, has been leading monthly outdoor haiku walks. I will end this Newsette with two that were written on the second walk in a park near the Chicago River:  
New life emerges,
Crawling from the wreckage of
Last year’s foliage  

Insistent Robin Singing
and hoping for love
I’m here.  Where are you?

May new life be emerging for you and your sanghas.    
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3 May 2021 Newsette

You can now register for our spring gathering, Branching Streams Flow On, Saturday, May 22 from 9 a.m. to noon PT/noon to 3 PM/ET. Registration is free of charge and is open to sangha members as well as teachers and leaders. The gathering features Konjin Gaeyln Godwin, Abbot of Houston Zen Center, sharing her perspective on the climate emergency followed by longer breakout groups on three topics of interest to many sanghas – the climate crisis, social action and racial justice, and creating hybrid zendos and events. There will be time to connect with one another in small groups, watch a video of your nature photos (until May 10th you can still send photos to tbouza@gmail.com), enjoy music, and participate in a ceremony.

Jon Voss continues to help participants find creative solutions to Zoom questions in his weekly Zoom Clinic on Wednesday May 5from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT. You are welcome to share this information with sangha members who are hosting sangha Zoom events including zazen, service, classes, etc. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.

Here are several offerings from centers in different parts of the U. S. and details about an Unpacking Whiteness course from the Soto Zen Buddhist Association.

Milwaukee Zen Center’s guiding teacher Reirin Gumbel will teach a six week class on Dogen’s Uji, Being-Time, beginning May 17. Reirin has been participating in interfaith events around racial justice. She recently gave a talk at the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee on Racial Equity and notes, “My Buddhist approach seems to be welcome and appreciated. It is an eye-opener that the problems we are currently facing have a common theme: the inter-connectedness and interdependence of all life.”

Houston Zen Center will soon embark on an Intensive Practice Period/Ango of the Boundless Mind from May 30 to June 17 led by Abbot Gaelyn Godwin, and Shuso Head Student Jika Gayle Klaybor. “We will merge practice and everyday activities, along with study of the Four Boundless Minds of Bodhisattva practice: Loving-Kindness, Compassion, Empathetic Joy, and Equanimity.”

Brooklyn Zen Center’s country home, Ancestral Heart Zen Monastery, has been sharing Letters from the Garden since early March, when snow still covered the mountains. In these letters, Ella Antell, the Head of Garden and Grounds at the monastery, has been describing the process of getting a large vegetable and flower garden up and running. “From the growing of seedlings, to the putting up of fences and the harvesting of the first spinach, we have been able to follow the amazing progress of the garden, under the care of the gardening monastics and the nurturing forces of mother Earth.” All of this is available on the BZC website here.

Hoka Chris Fortin, guiding teacher of Dharma Heart Zen and Lotus Sangha in Sebastopol, CA is co-leading a Jizo Ceremony for Those Who Have Died (SFZC Online) with Jennifer Block, and Dojin Sarah Emerson. These ceremonies create a caring and healing space for those who have lost loved ones of any age.

You may be interested in Minnesota Zen Meditation Center’s events with their Spring Guest Teacher, Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, leader of the Branching Streams group Still Breathing. Zenju will speak on “Accessing Peace In the Midst of Chaos on Friday May 14, 7 – 8:15 pm. No registration is necessary, offered by donation. Click here to join the talk via Zoom. She will also lead a retreat via Zoom on Saturday May 15, 9 am – 4pm Click here to register.

Unpacking Whiteness; exploring the delusion of race from a Buddhist perspective, a 4-session online course, led and facilitated by Crystal Johnson, is being offered by the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA). “This class, taught from a Buddhist perspective, is designed as a collaborative exploration of our conditioning as white people, and a time to develop skills for interrupting racism and building diverse community. It is designed for white people who are learning about whiteness” Dates: June 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 1-3:30 Pacific.

“We offer sliding scale registration and invite you to give as generously as you can. The course is open to everyone, regardless of donation level. For more information or to register: www.szba.org/courses .” This event will benefit the East Bay Meditation Center and fund the initiation of the SZBA’s BIPOC Support Fund; a fund to support Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Soto Zen lineages.

As I send this Newsette at 9 p.m. PT, I realize that many of you will read it on May 4th, the day of the May We Gather National Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors. I hope to see you there.

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April 27, 2021 Newsette

It’s a bright morning in San Francisco. I’m enjoying the light on the branches and shiny leaves of the sycamore outside my window. We had a virtual full moon ceremony at City Center this morning, and I found myself longing to be in the Buddha hall chanting together again.

This week’s Newsette includes news of Tassajara’s first steps in reopening to students, more about the May 4t National Memorial Service mentioned last week, and the first Zen Sewing Teachers practice period.

Plans are developing for Branching Streams Flow On, our May 22, 9 a.m. to noon PT gathering. Please save the date. I will share a draft program in next week’s Newsette. This is a last request from Teresa Bouza, tbouza@gmail.com, for your favorite nature photos taken during the last year. She will be use the photos to create a video to show on May 22nd. Please send your photos by May 10th.

Thank you to the many Zen Centers and sanghas that have sent your annual contributions during the last two weeks. If you have not yet responded, you can contribute electronically with this link, or you can send a check to San Francisco Zen Center with the name of your sangha on the memo line and mail it to Tova Green, 300 Page Street, San Francisco CA 94102. Please contact me if your sangha is experiencing financial hardship.

Jon Voss will host the weekly Zoom Clinic on Wednesday April 21from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT. You are welcome to share this information with sangha members who are hosting sangha Zoom events including zazen, service, classes, etc. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.

There is some good news about Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Although there won’t be a guest season this summer Tassajara is taking applications for summer students who want to do work practice for stays of two weeks or longer. The summer season begins April 6 and ends September 12.

Goyo Piper, the Tassajara Director, notes: ”Residents will be asked to do a wide variety of different jobs / tasks, often in the same day, whereas in a typical summer, a resident might work on just one crew. We will need to be putting energy into fuels reduction work to prepare for fire season.  Applicants need to be fully vaccinated.” Applications or questions can be sent to zmcdirector@sfzc.org.

 There will be a three month Fall Practice Period led by Senior Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller from September 13 to December 12. Applications will be available soon.

May We Gather, a Buddhist Memorial Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors will take place online on Tuesday May 4th, 4 pm PDT/7 pm EDT. Held forty-nine days after the Atlanta shootings in which eight people, of whom six were of Asian descent, were killed, the memorial ceremony arose in response to the need for mourning and renewal in the face of ongoing anti-Asian violence. 

Over 75 Asian American Buddhist partner temples in the U.S. and Canada have endorsed the Memorial. In addition, San Francisco Zen Center as well as twenty Branching Streams affiliates have signed on as ally sanghas for this event.

The organizers invite you to “explore the website, sign your temple/center up as a sponsor, and address the situation of the anti-Asian American racism that has surfaced in the U. S.” They encourage sanghas to consider hosting an in-person or virtual event in conjunction with May We Gather. “Your community may wish to hold a brief ritual or discussion immediately before or after the livestreamed event, which could be projected for community viewing. Alternatively, the ceremony will be recorded, and you are welcome to use the recording for an event at a later date.”

Many Branching Streams sewing teachers are members of the Zen Buddhist Sewing Teachers. ZBST is announcing Sew with Heart: Sewing teachers practice period.

“We are delighted to invite you to join our first national Zen sewing practice period. In association with Zen Buddhist Sewing Teachers (zbst.org) and Every Day Zen (everydayzen.org), ‘Sew With Heart’ will take place from June 3rd to December 11th, 2021. 

Practice period leadership includes Dharma teachers, Nyohō e teachers and senior students in both Zenkei Blanche Hartman’s and Tomoe Katagiri’s traditions, joining together to guide us all. This online practice period includes plenary events every 3 weeks, with guided activities for local and affinity groups i between the full sessions. Here is the link to the registration form and schedule.

I apologize for the length of this Newsette. Thank you for reading to the end!

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April 22, 2021 Newsette

This is the first time I’ve sent two Newsettes in one week!

Today is Earth Day and I would like to share a stunning setting of “Let Them Not Say,” a poem by Jane Hirshfield, who read at our December “Ten Thousand Joys and Ten Thousand Sorrows” gathering. I’d also like to alert you to two time-sensitive offerings, the start of a one-month practice offered by our two Canadian affiliates, which begins on Saturday, and a European Conference, also taking place on Saturday.

Jane Hirshfield, who sent me the video this morning, says: “If you have the four minutes to watch this — a Scottish composer who gives away all his work related to climate change for free released a video today of my “Let Them Not Say”. The music is one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever heard of my work. But the graphics… educational, harrowing.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ss5ugQA5sI  I cried when I watched it.

Mountain Rain Zen Community in Vancouver and Calgary Soto Zen are collaborating on a month-long Spring practice intensive on “Life Koans, led by their guiding teachers, Shinmon Michael Newton and Myoshin Kate McCandless with Baizan Tim Sampson

As we look towards the future and imagine a post-pandemic life, while still living daily lives in the midst of pandemic conditions, core questions arise about life and death, sickness and health, right and wrong, self and other. Questions about making difficult choices, about how we manifest our practice in our daily lives. These are what we’re calling life koans. During this practice intensive we will investigate how the teaching stories and dialogues of the classical Zen koan tradition support practicing with our personal and collective life questions.

The practice intensive will begin the weekend of April 24-25 and end May 29-30.  For a detailed schedule click here. 

All events are by donation to Mountain Rain Zen Community and/or Calgary Soto Zen.
No formal registration is required, but to help you set your intentions we invite you to fill out an informal registration form, which will go to the teachers. This will help us to get a sense of what your life koans are! Register here.

I have been reaching out to Branching Streams teachers in Europe and learned that Dario Girolami, the Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco in Rome, is co-organizing an online public conference sponsored by the European Buddhist Union this Saturday, April 24th on Death and Dying from a Buddhist Perspective. The speakers include Ven. Lama Ngawang, a Spanish Tibetan teacher, Dario, Roshi Joan Halifax from Upaya Zen Center, and Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison from the New York Zen Center, plus panel discussions and Q&A. You can learn more at https://www.ebuconference.org/.

May you find ways to cherish and be nourished by the earth this weekend.