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Posts from the ‘Features’ Category


Opening Our Hearts in a Shared World

A Message from the Central Abbess

Earlier this month Central Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts participated in an interfaith panel on the environment at Santa Clara University. The event preceded a two-day conference on November 3-4, titled “Our Future on a Shared Planet: Silicon Valley in Conversation with the Environmental Teachings of Pope Francis.” Read more


Five Ingredients for Building Sangha

A monthly update on the Sangha Project, from Robert Thomas

Over the past couple of years, a small team led by Do-On Robert Thomas has been working on extending the San Francisco Zen Center sangha more widely out into the world. We call this effort The Sangha Project. Read more

Photos by Steph Wenderski Blank

Nurturing Zazen Mind through Apprenticeships

The Guest Program Plus a New Kitchen Program at Green Gulch

Expanding the options for residential training, the staff at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center are pleased to launch a new Kitchen Apprenticeship Program beginning in February 2016. The program will be offered three times a year in tandem with the periods of the continuing Guest Program Apprenticeship, launched last year. Read more

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A Fall Message from the Central Abbess: Recent Events and Progress on SFZC Divestment

Dear Friends,

As we turn toward the fall of the year, enter into the practice periods at all three temples, and face the many brutal and senseless actions of our world that harm innocent beings, we once again take refuge in Buddhadharma to guide us in understanding how to act and serve from wisdom and compassion. Read more


The Heart of Silicon Valley: Introducing Zen Heart Sangha

A Branching Streams sangha profile

Zen Heart Sangha was established as a weekly sitting group in 1993 by Shungen Misha Merrill, senior dharma heir of Sensei Les Keido Kaye in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. Since that time, the group has grown in both size and maturity, forming a thriving nonresidential community with about 50 active members. We have practice places in both Menlo Park (Monday evenings) and Woodside (Saturday mornings), California, as well as several retreat days a year in various locations. Read more

Group of students at Tassajara in the fall 1967, with Suzuki Roshi (center) and Kobun Chino Roshi (behind). If you were there too, can you spot Dot? (Photo by Minoru Aoki.)

Memoir from the Early Days

From SFZC member Dot Kostriken

Dr. Dorothy Kostriken, a longtime member of San Francisco Zen Center, shares some memories about some of the earliest days at Tassajara in 1967, practicing with Suzuki Roshi, and how these days, at age 81, she is relating to Zen practice and to SFZC. The first practice period at Tassajara was held in 1967, and tangaryo would take place more often than it does now, for anyone interested in joining the students for any extended time. Tangaryo, a kind of traditional sitting initiation at a monastery, would last from one to three days at Tassajara during that time.
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Digital Sangha: Practicing the Way—Together

A monthly update on the Sangha Project, from Robert Thomas

When we first began experimenting with an online zendo, we wondered how it would feel to sit zazen in digital time-space. One of the first surprises was discovering how similar sitting together via a videoconferencing app was to sitting together in the meditation hall. Many group members have spoken about the sense of connection we feel and our deepening commitment to show up and support each other’s practice. Read more


Say Yes!

An Update from Linda Galijan, the Tassajara Director

Tanto Greg Fain gave the last dharma talk of the summer guest season on Saturday night, expressing deep appreciation of the remarkable strength of the students’ practice this summer, and gratitude for our guests and friends, who have supported Tassajara in so many ways. He talked about jumping off the 100 foot pole and saying, ‘Yes! to life.’  Then he repeated his teachings in verse at skit night following the gate closing ceremony:  Jam Master Ven Fresh (Greg) and MC Eric B(erman) taking it to the next level—check it out! Read more


A Heart as Big as a World

Carolyn and Curt Coleman’s story of legacy giving.
by Carolyn Coleman

Tassajara-Flag-Rock-by-Hamish-John-ApplebyWhen my husband Curt and I moved to Santa Cruz in 1981, we began going to Tassajara. Over the years, it has remained a touchstone in our lives, marking every summer as a place of respite and rejuvenation. Read more

Practice period group at Tassajara with Tatsugami Roshi (center) and Joanna Bull (furthest right, standing).

Supported by Community, Grounded in Practice

Joanna Bull, an SFZC member for five decades, tells her story from the East Coast

In 1968 a young woman, Joanna Bull, was spending a few months in Woodstock, NY. A guest of Bob Dylan’s manager, she hung out with Bob and the Band, listened to great music and looked for a clear path amid the big party. While living on the compound (built in 1812), Joanna saw a ghost. Intrigued, she made a trip to the bookstore, where she discovered Alan Watts’ The Spirit of Zen. Read more