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Posts from the ‘Features’ Category

3
Mar

Tassajara in the Pandemic

Photo Credit: Goyo Piper

By Tova Green

Thanks to Leslie James, Abiding Tassajara Teacher, Linda Galijan, former SFZC President now residing at Tassajara, and Goyo Piper, Tassajara Director, for speaking with me about how Tassajara is doing during the Covid-19 Pandemic and about plans to reopen for guests in 2022. 

An expression that captures the spirit of life at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center during this winter of the Covid-19 Pandemic is the phrase “continuous practice.” Goyo and Linda commented on how “we continue practicing here, regardless of the circumstances or the numbers.” They follow a schedule similar to the City Center schedule, working Monday through Friday with a half-day sit on Wednesday, and are off from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Everyone is on the same schedule, which allows people to go meet or go on hikes together on days off.  Read more

2
Mar

New Information on Tassajara Summer 2021

Dear Friends:

This is the time of year when many of you are looking for your Tassajara brochure in the mail, checking our website for opening dates, and setting aside time for your summer visit to Tassajara.

San Francisco Zen Center’s leadership, along with our Health & Safety Committee, have been meeting for months to discuss the question of opening Tassajara for the 2021 Summer Season. As you may imagine, Tassajara presents many unique and complex challenges in order to open safely during a pandemic. Read more

23
Feb

Receiving the Precepts Mid-Pandemic

By Tova Green

On a cool afternoon in mid-February, Green Gulch Farm held San Francisco Zen Center’s first Lay Initiation ceremony since the Covid-19 pandemic began nearly a year ago. The ceremony took place outdoors, on a large lawn near the zendo. The participants wore masks and were physically distanced, as were the sangha members who came to witness and support the ceremony.

The day before the ceremony Eijun Linda Cutts spoke about the meaning of Jukai in her Sunday Dharma talk. She referred to it as a Bodhisattva initiation and described the mind of a person entering an initiation as open and receptive, like the mind of the Buddha.

Read more

23
Feb

New Life for Suzuki Roshi’s Orchids

By Tova Green

Many residents of SFZC’s City Center go up to the roof to get a view of the city, find a quiet place to read, or to work out on the stationary bike. On the roof there are several beehives and a protected area with Suzuki Roshi’s orchids. 

These orchids were originally tended by Shunryu Suzuki, who lived at 300 Page Street from 1967, when San Francisco Zen Center acquired the building, until his death in 1971. We don’t know how many orchids there were initially, or how many times they have been divided and repotted over the last five decades but they have lived on the City Center roof all these years. They have been watered twice a month by a succession of Zen student gardeners, and have absorbed nourishment from the water and the moist air.

Read more

18
Feb

Winter Storms Challenge Texas Zen Centers

[Photo credit: Tim Kroll]

by Tova Green

 In a winter when many regions of the United States have experienced fierce storms and freezing temperatures, last week’s extreme cold, snow, and freezing rain in Texas was unexpected and unprecedented. 

On Tuesday of this week, I noticed that Reirin Gumbel, Milwaukee Zen Center’s guiding teacher, posted her concerns about sanghas in Texas on the Soto Zen Buddhist Associations members’ forum. She wrote, “How are you doing in this weather? Are your centers safe? Thinking about all Texans and others in the South. We have a seemingly unending snowstorm here; but Milwaukee is ready for it.” 

This prompted me to reach out to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio Zen Centers, all members of Branching Streams, a group of sanghas in the Suzuki Roshi lineage. Read more

17
Feb

Intimate Discussions: An Interview with Sokaku Kathie Fischer

Kathie Fischer and her husband, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, will be co-leading an online intensive Intimate Discussions: On Dogen’s Zuimonki (March 2-20). She spoke with Sangha News about the text, the intensive, and the nature of teaching at a distance.

Sangha News: Thank you for speaking with us, Kathie. To begin, can you say a bit about the text, the Zuimonki? The translation of the term I found was something like “easy to understand.” Is that correct?

Kathie Fischer: I don’t know about the exact translation, but it is a text I’ve loved and studied for a long time, beginning when I was at Tassajara. A Primer of Soto Zen was an early English translation and I’ve gone back to it repeatedly over the years.
Read more

10
Feb

A New Abbot for Old Plum Mountain Zen Center

By Tova Green

On January 31, 2021 Hozan Alan Senauke became the second Abbot of Old Plum Mountain Zen Center (usually called Berkeley Zen Center). The ceremony was held over Zoom and was attended by over 350 sangha members, Zen teachers, friends, and family from four continents and eight countries. This three-hour event could only have occurred with months of planning and many rehearsals, careful collaboration and coordination, much of it behind the scenes. 

The Mountain Seat Ceremony was the second of a pair of ceremonies. The first, held on October 24, 2020, was the Stepping Down of Berkeley Zen Center’s first Abbot and Founding Teacher, Sojun Mel Weitsman. Sojun died on January 7, 2021, and his absence was felt and noted at the Mountain Seat Ceremony. Read more

27
Jan

A Mural to Greet The New Dawn

Image by Nicole Hayden

By Tova Green

On the corner of Page and Laguna Streets in San Francisco, diagonally across from San Francisco Zen Center, is a corner building with a series of murals that wrap around the boarded-over windows. What unites the several panels is a stream of monarch butterflies, often seen in spring at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, one of SFZC’s three temples. As I walked across the street today I saw a woman on a ladder painting the newest image – a portrait of Amanda Gorman, who recited her poem “The Hill We Climb“ at President Joe Biden’s inauguration less than a week ago. Read more

27
Jan

Taking Refuge

2020 Year-End Campaign

 

It is the support of Dharma friends that encourages us as we walk the intimate path of awakening together. The refuge of Sangha is what helps us to carry on.
— Nancy Petrin, Head of Practice, Beginner’s Mind Temple

Thank you to those who contributed to our 2020 year-end campaign. This continuing support makes it possible for San Francisco Zen Center to provide refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and to offer the practice and teachings of Zen.

We are honored to walk this path with you.

With gratitude,

Central Abbot Rinso Ed Sattizahn and President Sozan Miglioli

Image: Paula Pietranera

13
Jan

Statement on the January 6 attack on the U.S. Congress


The impact of the January 6 siege on Congress by a mob incited by the President of the United States continues to reverberate throughout the nation. San Francisco Zen Center condemns the violence that was perpetrated, mourns the loss of lives, and bears witness to the alarm, dismay, and anguish arising from the attack. Disagreements and protests are valid aspects of a free and open dialogue in a democracy; violence and intimidation are not.  

These recent attempts to subvert our democracy have been shocking and heartbreaking. They also highlight the stark contrast between the treatment of the predominantly White rioters and the protesters who assembled in support of Black lives over this past year. The roots of this inequity are found in the history of racism and injustice in the U.S., and are directly tied to the hatred and white supremacy that fueled last week’s insurrection. Read more