September 15, 2014
Right now, Tassajara is very quiet. It’s just after 9 am on Monday morning. Guest season ended yesterday; we said goodbye to the last of our guests by mid-afternoon. We chanted the Heart Sutra and closed the front gate, signaling the transition to work period and the cloistered fall and winter months. As part of the dedication during the ceremony, we read the names of the students who participated in the 2014 Summer Practice Period, expressing gratitude for everyone’s hard work and dedication to practice. Read more
Most times the most precious parts of ourselves are dwarfed by a preoccupation with mundane, functional tasks that fill our days and thoughts. I’m talking about kindness, love and joy—our humanity. But when we hit a wall, we sometimes stop and invert the paradigm, putting our humanity first, our to-do list second.
The name comes from the Zen Buddhist term “beginner’s mind,” which describes an openness, eagerness and lack of preconception in living one’s life. —from beginnersmindzencenter.org
A Branching Streams sangha profile by Cody Farley (Northridge, CA)
(A series of articles introducing sanghas affiliated with San Francisco Zen Center in the Branching Streams network) Read more
by Jeffrey Schneider, Outreach Coordinator
(Artwork by prisoners*)
I often look up from my desk at a drawing, rendered in almost photographic realism, of Suzuki Roshi. It was sent to me by one of my prison pen pals. Armando is on death row in San Quentin, and we’ve been corresponding for several years now. Read more
Laying a Roof and Raising Consciousness: An Interview with Contractor Ezra Wynn on Being Atop the Guest House
Interview conducted by Lauren Dito
Among the many large-scale improvement projects at Green Gulch Farm this summer, the re-roofing of the lovely Lindisfarne Guest House was notable as much for the extreme complexity and tediousness of the job as for the uplifting inner effects of the experience as reported by some of the visiting workers. The uniquely shaped roof was beautifully completed in early July, thanks to the amazing craftsmanship of contractor Ezra Wynn. Read more
When Meeting Trauma and Stress, Finding Balance Is a Natural Thing: An Interview with Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner Jane Lazar
by Jay Pennington
Fight, flight or freeze? When it comes to handling stress, at the most basic level I have more in common with a wild animal than I tend to think—and this is actually good news. It’s always grounding to talk with my friend Jane Lazar and be reminded of that, especially when she discusses her work helping people heal from trauma. Key to accessing natural stress-relieving tools, I’ve learned from Jane, is the capacity to be in the present and in the body. Read more
by Chris Shelton (photos by Jesse Stanley)
For the fifth year in a row now, City Center has had the pleasure of hosting a group of students from the Information School of the University of Washington, whose annual visit helps Zen Center organize and safeguard a mountain of records of all kinds from all three temples, one handful at a time. Read more
We don’t just drop off the food; we get to serve and be part of the community in some way.
A spotlight on SFZC outreach and volunteers, by Jay Pennington
It’s 1:00 on Thursday afternoon. Time for leftover magic. As part of City Center’s outreach activities, volunteers convene in the kitchen every Thursday to turn the week’s leftover food into something really useful—to feed those in need. Read more
This slide show contains an excerpt from the chapter titled “Enjoy Your Life” in Not Always So by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. The book is based on Suzuki Roshi’s lectures that were selected and edited by Edward Brown. The photos of Tassajara in this slide show were taken over the last three months of summer guest season by Shundo David Haye.
This summer Sojun Mel Weitsman will be leading a retreat at Tassajara which will focus on the teachings of Suzuki Roshi, Presenting Suzuki Roshi’s Teachings. In addition, Abbot Rinso Ed Sattizahn, also a student of Suzuki Roshi, leads a class this fall at City Center on Suzuki Roshi’s Way of Practice.
by Jay Pennington, Sangha News editor
A coach, consultant and Zen priest, Lisa Hoffman has had 25 years of experience guiding the leadership of nonprofit organizations, gaining useful experience in skillfully handling conflict of various kinds. On Saturday, August 16, she shares what she has learned both in the working world and through the dharma, in the afternoon workshop Meeting Conflict with Compassion at City Center. Below she answers a few questions about this universal topic, offering some clues about how Buddhist teachings can help us approach disagreement and anger skillfully. Read more