Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Features’ Category

22
Apr
Pico_de_Orizaba_desde_Xalapa_banner

Introducing Montaña Despierta: A Place for Zen Buddhist Practice on the East Coast of Mexico

A Branching Streams sangha profile

Montaña Despierta (Awakened Mountain, in Spanish) is a space dedicated to the practice of Buddhist meditation in the heart of Xalapa, a city located in eastern Mexico. It was founded in 2008 by several spiritual friends that came together under the mentorship and guidance of Dharma Teacher and Central Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts. Since then Montaña Despierta has become a special place, unique in a society that has seemed so alien to the teachings of Buddhism. Read more

22
Apr
Robert's photo for SP_800

Using Your Smart Phone to Water the Seeds of Compassion and Wisdom

A monthly update on the Sangha Project, from Robert Thomas

Many of us are unsure about our relationship to our personal technology. Does it make us more anxious or stressed out and less able to connect with the people right in front of us, people we care about and love? Or can technology also support us to extend practice throughout our lives? Read more

15
Apr
Fresh grass with dew drops close up

Debunking Three Myths of Practice

Three short videos with Do-On Robert Thomas

Myth 1          [Myth 2]          [Myth 3]

The Buddha said, “Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Zen is the practice of meeting this moment. The Buddha discovered that by being completely and fully in the present moment, we can wake up to our true nature—our Buddha-nature.

In this short video below (3 minutes), SFZC dharma teacher Do-On Robert Thomas unpacks the first of three myths around what it takes to practice Zen. Read more

15
Apr
zenpractice_banner

Dr. Grace Dammann Reflects on the Experience of Filming States of Grace

Green Gulch Farm Zen Center resident Grace Dammann, MD, survived a near-fatal head-on collision on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008. After more than seven weeks in a coma and a dozen surgeries, she miraculously awakened with her mental facilities intact; her body, however, was left shattered. Read more

15
Apr
Black_bodhisattva_combo_banner

What’s a Black Bodhisattva to Do?

by Kyva Holman

After an incident occurred close to home, Green Gulch resident Kyva Holman reflects carefully on how to juggle myriad considerations where race and Buddhist practice intersect with the complex conditions of our modern world. Kyva shares his personal perspective through the invitation of SFZC’s Cultural Awareness and Inclusivity Committee.

For some, taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha is not abstraction. It’s front-and-center reality. But what if that refuge is breached? Read more

31
Mar
Atom (plus detail), and DNA (plus detail).

Painting Enlightenment (A Preview): The Art and Science of the Heart Sutra

In an Advanced Buddhist Studies Lecture on Friday, April 24, Dr. Paula Arai will exhibit and discuss paintings by a Japanese contemplative scientist that meld insights from scientific expertise with the Buddhist tradition of contemplative calligraphy. Integrating the sacred words of a Buddhist text prized for its liberative power with images both microscopic and cosmic, the Zen ink paintings on exhibit offer visual counsel on how reality can be perceived through the lens of wisdom to see the realm of compassion. (See full description of lecture.)

Below are some examples with enlarged details from paintings by Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), whose work will be discussed in the lecture on April 24. Read more

30
Mar
ChapHill2_banner

Suzuki Roshi in the South: Introducing Chapel Hill Zen Center

A Branching Streams sangha profile

Red Cedar Mountain Temple, perhaps better known as the Chapel Hill Zen Center (CHZC), is the only Soto Zen temple in Suzuki Roshi’s lineage located in the southeastern United States. “Red Cedar” refers to the many cedar trees on our property, and “mountain” is a traditional designation for a Soto temple. We are grateful to be hosting the next Branching Streams meeting of SFZC affiliated sanghas in May 2015. Read more

24
Mar
CoverforTenderness_banner

Book Review for Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality, and Gender

Published by Wisdom Publications, 2015
Review by Shahara Godfrey

Reverend Zenju Earthlyn Manuel has written a thoughtful and poignant book titled The Way of Tenderness: Awakening through Race, Sexuality, and Gender. As a black lesbian Zen priest, she invites us to explore awakening through the challenges of race, sexuality and gender. Her audacious, fearless, courageous Buddhist framework reflects the potential for love and healing in a way rarely addressed within spiritual communities. Read more

24
Mar
Startup Stock Photos

Zen’s Disruptive Tradition

The first in a series of monthly updates on the Sangha Project, from Robert Thomas

Can we use technology to wake up and experience liberation? Zen has a long tradition of using disruptive practices to wake up. Just sitting, or zazen—the core of Zen practice—is an exceedingly simple and deeply transformational practice that asks us to sit still and think not-thinking. What could be more disruptive? In the Sangha Project, we are exploring how cutting-edge technology might be used to cut through the conditioned habits and values that perpetuate suffering. These explorations and discoveries are the focus of this new monthly feature. Read more

18
Mar
banner1

Roaming Zen: An Urban Walking Meditation

Since ancient times, walking has been an important activity for meditators. Nonetheless this mindfulness practice may seem to be an unusual focus for a daylong retreat at San Francisco Zen Center. On April 11, Roaming Zen: A Daylong Urban Walking Meditation Retreat offers participants a chance to venture much further than the zendo quadrant usually traversed during the daily “kinhin” period in the temple. Read more