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.
By Cat Li Stevenson
Kyoshin Wendy Lewis has been practicing at San Francisco Zen Center since 1987, including living for six years at Tassajara. She was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1997, and completed Dharma Transmission with Eijun Linda Cutts in December of 2012. She will be teaching an online class this Fall on The Ten Oxherding Pictures 10/08-11/19.
The Saturday Sangha has been an important and vital part of City Center’s practice life for the past twenty years. Before the Covid-19 pandemic closed the temple to visitors, each week non-residential practitioners came together on Saturday mornings to provide a variety of services: greeting newcomers, helping in the kitchen, and supporting in the zendo for zazen and the Buddha hall for lecture by sounding the liturgical instruments that signal the times and chants. They met during lunch, ate together, and engaged in study and discussion led by a senior priest.
The original inspiration for the group came from Teah Strozer who was Tanto (head of practice) of City Center at the time. When asked about her reasons for starting it, she said “I wanted to find a teaching venue for myself as head of practice and to support lay practice (non-residential in this case) more consciously and specifically.” Read more
Sangha News speaks with Nancy Petrin (Horin Raika, Dharma Forest/ Bringing Harmony), recently appointed as tanto (head of practice) at Beginner’s Mind Temple/City Center.
Sangha News: Hi Nancy. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and congratulations on your new position.
Nancy: You’re welcome. And thank you.
SN: Before we go into more personal territory, let me ask you a general question. The tanto position is defined as the head of practice for a temple. But what does being tanto mean to you?
N: Before I accepted the position I asked to see a job description because although I had known many tantos I didn’t know exactly what the job would entail. The first job of the tanto is “keeper of the forms”––the forms of the zendo and of ceremonial practice. I loved reading that because I love our forms and was drawn to practice largely because of them.
The second task is to “bring everyone along together.” This involves inviting speakers and scheduling classes and doing my best to include everyone in the practice––teachers and residents and non-residential practitioners. And that is what I really want to do, to find ways to support people as individuals and help them show up for practice as themselves, both here and in the world.
Apprentice positions are still open in the farm and garden + land stewardship programs at Green Gulch Farm for the 2020 season (April 8 – October 12)! This program is a unique and wonderful opportunity to study the Buddha Way and practice intimately with the land, nourishing self and other.
On Saturday, January 4, five initiates received the precepts in a Jukai/Initiation Ceremony with preceptors Central Abbot Ed Sattizahn, Shosan Victoria Austin, and Anshi Zachary Smith (Nancy Petrin offered the precepts to Margaret Schneider through Ed) at City Center/Beginner’s Mind Temple. Photos by Julia Sperling.
Congratulations to Tim O’Connor Fraser, Gyoku To I Toku / Jade Lantern Solemn Virtue, the Fall 2019 City Center shuso. The shuso ceremony, after which these photos were taken, took place on Saturday, December 7. Lorenzo Garbo was Tim’s benji/assistant during the practice period. Photos by Eli Brown-Stevenson.
Congratulations also to Green Gulch Farm Fall 2019 shuso, Tedd Brown, Seiyu Myoho / Quiet Courage, Wondrous Liberation. Below is a photo taken after the shuso ceremony on Monday, December 9. Photo by Thiemo Blank.
To Greg Fain and the residents at Tassajara, and the organizers of the guest practice program, Steve, Siobhan, and Minoria,
On behalf of Kannon Do, I offer deepest gratitude for your incredible hospitality, kindness, and practice of the Way. Everyone who came to visit from our sangha was deeply moved by our experience at Tassajara. Thank you for making us feel at home with you.