The SZBA will be holding its fifth National Conference October 3-7, 2012, at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon. The conference will offer participants a chance to connect and develop relationships with fellow Soto Zen teachers and priests of North America and help to build a foundation of mutual respect and trust. The conference is a chance to develop ties across lineages and nurture a collective sense of Soto Zen in North America.
The keynote speakers for the conference will be Professors Duncan Ryūken Williams and Dale Wright.
As we look to the future of Soto Zen in America, what are the most pressing questions facing our tradition and our communities of practice and what is the function of the SZBA in meeting these questions?
At the 2010 Conference, the Standards Committee was formed. Growing out of discussions at the conference, four training modalities were distinguished:
• Monastic (90 day ango practice)
• Residential training at a Zen center
• Temple centered practice (“non-residential”)
• Ministerial training (trainings on ministering to sangha that are not specific to Zen)
The Standards Committee has conducted a comprehensive survey in order to learn from SZBA members what kinds of standards are already in place among the varied sanghas of this organization. The data collected in the survey will provide the basis for further discussion at the 2012 conference, including the possibility of the SZBA adopting training standards to recognize Dharma transmission. It is hoped that establishing a minimum set of requirements for training will strengthen the integrity of Soto Zen in the West now and into the future.
The conference is open to full (dharma-transmitted) and associate (priest ordained) members of the SZBA. The conference will include the Dharma Heritage Ceremony.