February 28, 2023
Join Us In Welcoming and Celebrating San Francisco Zen Center’s Abbatial Leadership, March 10 – 12

Mountain Seat procession

As San Francisco Zen Center prepares for the transition of all three of its abbatial seats, we are pleased to share several ways for the sangha to participate in upcoming ceremonies to honor those leaving and those stepping into new roles.

At 3:00 pm on March 11 in a Mountain Seat Ceremony, Doshin Mako Voelkel and Jiryu Rutschman-Byler will be formally installed as abiding abbots of City Center and Green Gulch Farm, respectively. The ceremony will be held in person at Beginner’s Mind Temple and is open to the public. Note that seating in the Buddha Hall is limited. It’s possible that you will be seated in the dining room with residents and other sangha members and view the ceremony on a monitor. After the ceremony, we will all gather together for the reception. If you wish to attend in person and have not already RSVP’d to an invitation, please register here as space is limited. For all in-person events, guests are asked to take a Covid-19 rapid test prior to arrival and only attend if it is negative, and to wear an N95 or KN95 mask at all times except when eating. The livestream will also be available live for personal viewing at this link.

On March 12, at 10:30 am, the second part of the ceremony for Jiryu Rutschman-Byler will take place at Green Gulch Farm/Green Dragon Temple. In-person attendance of this Mountain Seat Ceremony will be open only to invited guests, but the wider sangha is invited and encouraged to attend via livestream at this link. Recordings of these events will also be available shortly afterward on SFZC’s livestream archive for later viewing.

David, Jiryu, Mako

Tenzen David Zimmerman, Jiryu Rutschman-Byler, and Doshin Mako Voelkel

These transitions feel poignant as San Francisco Zen Center prepares for the retirement of beloved senior teachers, and as SFZC continues to gradually reopen to our wider sangha and adapt to an always-changing world. In these times of uncertainty and possibility, we are fortunate to have capable leaders stepping in to care for the work of San Francisco Zen Center, and we are grateful for the support of the sangha and of our elders.

Fu and Ed

Furyu Schroeder and Rinso Ed Sattizahn

Rinso Ed Sattizahn, central abbot, and Furyu Nancy Schroeder, abiding abbess at Green Gulch Farm, who have both served in their positions since 2014, will participate in a Stepping Down Ceremony on Friday, March 10 at 5:00 pm as they conclude their abbatial terms. They have supported countless students with warmth, kindness, and steady leadership over their years of service at SFZC, and depart with the great gratitude of the sangha. This ceremony will be livestreamed at this link; please join us to honor and appreciate these great teachers.

As Abbess Fu and Abbot Ed prepare for retirement, Tenzen David Zimmermann will move into the role of central abbot after serving for four years as City Center Abbot. After the Dharma talk given by Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi on Saturday, March 11, Abbot David will take part in a Stepping Across Ceremony to mark this change and to welcome him into his new role. The Stepping Across Ceremony will not be livestreamed. The Dharma talk will be viewable from the Online Zendo Livestream.