Skip to content

June 24, 2015

7

Boundless Life: Staying in Touch with Blanche Hartman

Zenkei Blanche Hartman, “Inconceivable Joy,” a senior dharma teacher and abbess emeritus of San Francisco Zen Center, has been in failing health since a fall in mid-March. After two weeks of intractable pain, she was diagnosed with a broken femur, and received a partial hip replacement on March 26. Though she received physical therapy, good food and rest, she experienced a decline in life energy.

Blanche (photo: Renshin Bunce)

Blanche (photo: Renshin Bunce)

Zenkei is now at Age Song, an assisted living facility close to San Francisco Zen Center, where she requests privacy. However, she continues to enjoy the sangha’s support in the form of cards and letters. Please send your card to Zenkei Blanche Hartman, 300 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.

To support our continued connection with Blanche now that she is living away from City Center, we have launched the new website Boundless Life. At this site you will receive updates on Blanche’s condition, as well as have the opportunity to view and share comments about her as well as photos of her.

Centered on the Great Matter of birth and death, Blanche’s Zen teaching strongly focuses on sangha, gratitude, and inclusion. She has been a pivotal force in the development of Zen in America, was the first female abbess in Suzuki Roshi’s American lineage, and has carried Joshin Sakai Sensei’s dharma of sewing Buddha’s robe to all the affiliated groups and communities in Suzuki Roshi’s lineage. Her dharma heirs include Cathleen Williams, Seirin Barbara Kohn (first guiding teacher, Austin Zen Center), Kosho McCall (abbot, Austin Zen Center), Meiji Tony Patchell (founding teacher, Russian River Zen Center), Dainei John King, Ryumon Gutierrez-Baldoquin (founding teacher, Two Streams Zen), Junsei Jana Drakka (founding teacher, Zendo Without Walls), Keiryu Lien Shutt (founding teacher, Access to Zen), and Myozen Joan Amaral (guiding teacher, Marblehead Zen Center).

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel has edited a new collection of Blanche’s dharma talks, Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Teachings from the Heart, which Shambhala Publications will distribute starting next month. Read Zenju’s post about the book and its development on the Boundless Life blog.

You can sign up to follow the Boundless Life blog by email, or just visit, at zenkei.sfzc.org.

 

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lee Lipp
    Jun 24 2015

    Ah dear Blanche, Your loving words, loving ways keep re-cycling through all that is far and near. And now, loving meets you again.

    Reply
  2. Marian Felgenhauer
    Jun 24 2015

    Dear Zenkei Blance Hartman, My brother, John Briggs, is a practising Buddhist, become a priest. I think Buddhism saved his life which was becoming as nothing. He sent this article to me and I can only wish you strength and courage and the peace that will relieve your pain. Be well as soon as you can.
    Sincerely,
    Marian Felgenhauer

    Reply
  3. Katharine Cook
    Jun 24 2015

    Dearest Blanche, Were it not for your presence in my life when I needed love and support to simply survive, I would not be here now, enjoying my life of offering writings and restoration ecology. . . I am so grateful for all the guidance and support you offered me. The recipients now are the readers of the Pulitzer prize-winning Pt. Reyes Light, is the restored fields of native grasses that sequester carbon –www.marincarbonproject.org and the wildflowers of the coastal prairie. Of the earth, back to the earth, thank you.

    Reply
  4. Molly Sokai Gorden
    Jun 24 2015

    dearest Blanche,
    wish i could ease yourpain/ discomfort , silly to assume you need ease but maybe .. ? as you did for me , @ a Naropa Wkend , inmaybe 1992…i was severely crippled & brain injured from being run over a few months before & miraculously ,we still managed dokusan..” it’s all a gift. ” , & chatting about what it felt like to be dying..etc ..not a problem , til we saw the distress on other’ s faces, who loved us…oh , RIGHT ! anyway.. thank you for our giggles over dying, &for laying me out flat on the floor for zazen , { who knew ? } & for ” don’t EVER give your power away . ” you were the 1st zen teacher i’d met. you opened everything & even physically lent yr arms / shoulders for me to lean on, as i staggered around , embarrassing too many. i’m always aspiring to walking thru the gateless gate ,since you pointed it out, enjoying the family treasure house . i love you. & ,you know what to do. xo~ molly sokai

    Reply
  5. Julie Freiberg
    Jun 24 2015

    dear old friend….I am with you in spirit, sending love and healing qi, our forever connection.
    from one (great) grandmother to another.

    Reply
  6. Jun 24 2015

    My New York City Singer Arianna Armon and I as a NYC Broadway Musical Producer with our Love from and with the Theater send Healing Energy and Love to help heal and comfort you at this time in your Life. You have touched me in ways that words can not say. May you feel only joy and happiness from all you have touched with your spirit and Love. You are what words can not say or put into a word.

    Buddha’s Love and Spirit forever, more and more and more.

    Reply
  7. Dot Kostriken
    Jun 27 2015

    I only remember you & Lou, laughing, in the sun, at Tassajara; only that.
    Gassho.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published. Comments are held for moderation.

Subscribe to comments

required
required