By Tova Green
Cynthia Schrager is the editor of Norman Fischer’s new book, When You Greet Me I Bow: Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen. A member of Everyday Zen, Cynthia has been a student of Norman’s since 2010.
When Norman was encouraged by Melvin McCleod, editor of Shambhala Sun and BuddhaDharma, to consider assembling a collection of his previously published essays, Norman was interested and knew he would need help. In Summer 2016 he invited Cynthia to work on the project.
Cynthia began with a list of Buddhist journals which, along with Shambhala Sun and BuddhaDharma, also included Tricycle, Inquiring Mind, and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Turning Wheel. She began by tracking down every article Norman had written, creating a spreadsheet as she went along. In the end there were 75 articles and essays. “Norman was quite surprised at how many there were,” Cynthia noted. Only half of what she discovered is in the book.
Cynthia’s second task as editor was to develop a structure for the book. She looked for “the themes that kept coming forward.” From the beginning, she could see that Relationship (Notes on the Joy and Catastrophe of Relationship) and Difference and Dharma (Notes on Social Engagement) would hold together as two of the four sections of the book. The sections on Form Is Emptiness (Notes on Thinking, Writing and Emptiness) and East/West (Notes on Cultural Encounter) followed.
In response to the Shambhala editor’s request for some new writing from Norman, Cynthia thought of asking Norman to write notes that would precede each section and tie together the essays. As some were written as long as thirty years ago; this gave Norman an opportunity to comment on how his views have changed over the years. 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
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
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.
Suzuki Roshi’s Way is flourishing.
San Francisco Zen Center’s “Branching Streams” Network of Affiliate Sanghas is now comprised of 75 Dharma centers, ranging in size from meeting-once-a-week small sitting groups to established centers with their own Abbesses/Abbots, Boards of Directors, dedicated property, and numerous weekly Dharma offerings.
A Branching Streams sangha profile, introducing one of the many sanghas affiliated with San Francisco Zen Center in the Branching Streams network.
Open Zen Community is a small and dedicated Sangha of lay practitioners in the San Francisco Bay Area. All of us work full-time as part of our practice.