During the last several months, the residential community at Tassajara has been very small. Yet the residents have maintained a daily schedule, and are following health and safety protocols.
While there won’t be a guest season this summer, Tassajara is accepting applications for a limited number of work practice summer students from May 4 to September 13. Unlike typical summers when they are assigned a specific crew, the work practice students will be working on a variety of different tasks.
Tassajara Director Goyo Piper says it will be most beneficial to have students join for the entire summer or for extended periods of a month or longer, although two-week stays are possible. There is no deadline to apply.
Tassajara will offer a Fall Practice Period led by Senior Dharma Teacher Ryushin Paul Haller, from September 13 to December 12.
The intense schedule and atmosphere of a traditional Zen Ango (Practice Period) support practitioners to go beyond their usual sense of self and enter the wide open life of the Buddha. Kindness and love for one another will be our watchwords as we negotiate the way together for these precious few months. Read more
by Tova Green
A line in the Sandokai (Harmony of Difference and Equality) of Sekito Kisen (700 – 790), one of Suzuki Roshi’s favorite poems, reads”the branching streams flow on in the dark.” Branching Streams has become the name for the network of Zen Centers and Sanghas in the United States and 9 in other countries in the Suzuki Roshi lineage.
These groups, which vary greatly in size, age, and location, are led by teachers who trained at San Francisco Zen Center and departed to found or to join fledgling Zen groups. The earliest are Bay Area groups: Berkeley Zen Center, founded by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 1967 in the attic of an old house, and Haiku Zendo Meditation Center, started by Suzuki Roshi in 1966 in a private home in Los Altos, which later became Kannon Do in Mountain View, led by Les Kaye. Read more
On Wednesday, April 21, in a ceremony at Green Dragon Temple/Green Gulch Farm, three initiates received the precepts and Dharma names from Tenshin Reb Anderson. Drew Schaffer was given the name Hi Ryu Zen Ho/Compassion Dragon, Complete Liberation; Sam Ridge was given the name Ho Ko Myo Chi/Dharma Light, Wondrous Wisdom; and Julian Minuzzo was given the name San Rai Shin Ki/Mountain Thunder, True Refuge. This is the second jukai initiation ceremony since the Covid-19 restrictions were put into place. The earlier ceremony was held outdoors and required social distancing and wearing masks; this one was also outdoors, but distancing and masks were not necessary.
Congratulations to the initiates! Read more
by Tova Green
One of the activities that has engaged Dario Girolami, Abbot of Centro Zen l’Arco in Rome, during this year of the pandemic has been developing an organization for Buddhist chaplains in Europe. Dario received Dharma Transmission from Eijun Linda Cutts and practiced at Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center during his training.
The first event, sponsored by the European Buddhist Union, was a daylong online meeting on Sunday, April 25. This event brought together Buddhist chaplains from at least ten European countries. The chaplains serve in hospices, hospitals, prisons, and armies, all places of great trauma. They came together to talk about their experiences, create a network, share materials, and support one another in their roles. Read more
by Tova Green
On March 21, a clear, cool Sunday morning, two residents of Green Dragon Temple (Green Gulch Farm) were ordained as priests by three preceptors: Abiding Abbess Fu Schroeder, Eijun Linda Cutts, the teacher for Kristin Diggs, and Tenshin Reb Anderson, the teacher for Valerian Hauffe. Read more
Kathie Fischer and her husband, Zoketsu Norman Fischer, will be co-leading an online intensive Intimate Discussions: On Dogenâ€™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 â€œeasy to understand.â€ Is that correct?
Kathie Fischer: I donâ€™t know about the exact translation, but it is a text Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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 Centerâ€™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 â€œI 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.â€Â Â Read more
Sangha News speaks with Nancy Petrin (Horin Raika, Dharma Forest/ Bringing Harmony), recently appointed as tanto (head of practice) at Beginnerâ€™s Mind Temple/City Center.
Sangha News: Hi Nancy. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and congratulations on your new position.
Nancy: Youâ€™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 didnâ€™t know exactly what the job would entail. The first job of the tanto is â€œkeeper of the formsâ€â€“â€“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 â€œbring everyone along together.â€ This involves inviting speakers and scheduling classes and doing my best to include everyone in the practiceâ€“â€“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 â€“ 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.