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Posts from the ‘Features’ Category

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

SFZC Awakening Through Service

Awakening Through Service

Service is practice, and practice is service.

A Bodhisattva is one who has taken the vow to become awakened for the sake of all beings–to live and be lived for the benefit of others. In this video excerpt Kai Ji Jeffrey Schneider shares reflections and stories on the Bodhisattva vow and how we express it in our daily lives.

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Supporting A Far-Flung Community of Practitioners

A monthly update on the Sangha Project, from Robert Thomas

During the past month, the Sangha Project has taken several important steps towards finalizing plans to build an online “home” for the global community of San Francisco Zen Center practitioners. Read more


Shosan Victoria Austin on Meditation Postures Designed for the Female Body

The main point of meditation is the same for all humans: to rest in the ultimate, and to experience the connection between ultimate and conditioned existence, in the present moment. To do this, we sit in an upright, aligned way, one with the universe by nature of being composed of its elements, naturally receiving it in and offering it out through the process of normal breathing. Read more

Photo: Clare Hollander

Sangha: A Mirror for Buddhas

A short teaching extracted from last week’s dharma talk at City Center by Anshin Rosalie Curtis

There’s a famous line in the Lotus Sutra that says: “Only a buddha together with a buddha can fathom the reality of all existence.” Read more


Brother David Steindl-Rast and Ryushin Paul Haller: The Spirit of Practice

Brother David Steindl-Rast and Ryushin Paul Haller returned to Tassajara last week to lead their annual retreat titled “The Spirit of Practice: Christian and Zen.” During their visit they graciously delivered the Wednesday evening dharma talk for Tassajara guests and residents, filling the retreat hall with laughter and conversation, and filling our hearts with the spirit of practice. Read more