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October 19, 2020

Membership 2020: Sozan Miglioli’s Story of Connection

I’m originally from Argentina and I practiced Soto Zen for many years in the Deshimaru lineage there. Back then I already knew about SFZC and had read Suzuki Roshi’s book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. I remember thinking at the time how “far away” San Francisco Zen Center felt. Who would have guessed I would be writing this?

My wife, Paula, and I married in 2013, after having met in the zendo where we practiced together in Buenos Aires. At that time, I had to travel to Mexico City for some business meetings, so we decided to continue our travels to enjoy a honeymoon in California, starting with a visit to San Francisco. I was excited about the opportunity to visit Beginner’s Mind Temple (City Center), so I attended the Saturday morning public program.

My first deep connection happened during morning service, when we chanted the Heart Sutra in English. This was the first time I chanted a sutra in any language in which I could relate to the meaning [since previously I had chanted only in Japanese]. Chanting the sutra in the Buddha Hall, something became very true in my practice.

I came back to City Center every time I had a trip to Mexico City, and stayed for a couple of nights each time. That is how I first got to interact with the residents. As I visited again and again, I had a sense that there was a particular warmth in the sangha that I had never felt before. Now I know this is probably Suzuki Roshi’s warm hand to warm hand transmission, still alive.

In 2014 I did my first Practice Period, working in the kitchen. My connection just kept growing stronger, both to SFZC and to my practice. After a six month trip to Japan in 2015, Paula and I decided to let go of our life in Argentina and move to San Francisco. Six years after my first Practice Period we are here, living at City Center.

October is Membership Month: Join the Membership Program.

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