Monthly Archives: July 2018

2018 SZBA Conference

July 7th, 2018

2018 Soto Zen Buddhist Association Conference

Interconnecting: One Soto Zen, Many Expressions

September 19-23

Zen Mountain Monastery

Mt. Tremper, New York


Schedule [coming soon]
Keynote Speaker
Dharma Heritage Ceremony
Cost & Registration


8th Biennial Conference of the SZBA

2014 Conf Informal - MediumFull and associate members of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association are cordially invited to attend the 8th biennial SZBA conference. If you are a Soto Zen priest but not yet a member of the SZBA, please consider joining the organization!

The conference begins Wednesday evening, September 19, and ends Sunday morning, September 23.


Interconnecting:  One Soto Zen, Many Expressions

As Soto Zen priests, we have many ways of expressing the Dharma. Even so, if we are to truly be of benefit in the world, we must move beyond the idea that we are independent, separate Zen centers and temples to the understanding that we are interconnected, as one Soto Zen body. What we offer the world becomes more available when we are more available to one another.

Our Zen training teaches us to be fully present to suffering and the causes of suffering from a place of deep knowing. From this strength of knowing what is most fundamental, what is at the center of our offering, how can we explore ways we might begin to change shape to truly meet people where we are—especially those who, for whatever reason, feel they do not or cannot be a part of Soto Zen Buddhism? What are the walls between us? And what are the walls we have built around us?

The conference will include:

  • A Dharma Heritage Ceremony
  • Facilitated Discussions of issues relevant to SZBA members
  • Special Breakout Sessions presented by members
  • Open Space discussion format for topics relevant to you
  • A memorial service for members who have recently died
  • Opportunities to engage with your peers formally and informally
  • A banquet and “non-talent” show

Dharma Heritage Ceremony

The conference includes a Dharma Heritage ceremony, which is a ritual of affirmation by one’s peers, a welcoming into the circle of Soto Zen priests in the West. If you are a dharma transmitted priest and have not participated as a candidate before (even if you have done Zuisse), please consider doing so at this conference! Contact the SZBA coordinator to get on the list (coordinator(at)

Please note that we cannot guarantee that applications for full membership received after September 1st will be processed in time for the conference.



Zen Mountain Monastery, Mt. Tremper, NY

Built in the 1920s and 30’s, Zen Mountain Monastery was originally a Benedictine monastery and boys’ camp. Now, for over three decades, it has offered practitioners from all walks of life a refuge from a culture of distraction and a way to become immersed in Buddhist teachings and practice. Located on 250 acres of protected woodlands that are home to an extraordinary variety of plant and animal life.

Zen Mountain Monastery2.jpg






Find out more at:

Keynote Speaker

Ann Gleig is an Associate Professor of Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Florida. Her primary research area is Buddhism in America. She has published a number of articles in journals such as Journal Of Global Buddhism and Contemporary Buddhism: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her first monograph, American Buddhism After Modernity, will be published by Yale University Press in 2019. Dr. Gleig won the UCF Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2017. You can read her articles on The Shifting Landscape of Buddhism in America and The Dukkha of Racism online.


 Thomas Bruner has been helping mission-focused businesses do great work for decades. Bruner brings a wealth of experience to his work, including 25 years of executive-level leadership, a master’s degree in clinical psychology, a diversity management certificate, and civic volunteer engagement. Since launching Bruner Strategies in 2016, he has helped 40 organizations in four states and three countries do great work in Leadership & Governance; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Financial Development. Bruner is a senior student at Dharma Rain Zen Center, where he spent 2015 as a postulant.


Cost & Registration

The SZBA makes every effort to keep conference fees low in order to make the conference as accessible as possible, including to the many priests on limited incomes. There is some scholarship money already available, so if you can’t afford the full conference cost be sure to inquire with the SZBA Administrative Coordinator (coordinator[at] about your interest in attending and how much you would be able to pay.

The conference is open to all SZBA members. Contact the SZBA  (coordinator(at) if you want to apply for membership or have any questions.

Please note that

Conference Fees – Three Options

  1. $400 – Conference Fee + help priests on a limited income attend
  2. $350 – Basic Conference Fee (includes conference, housing and meals)
  3. $250 – Day-Use Fee (for those staying offsite or in tents)
  4. I would like to come but can only pay $ _____ (we will contact you about this possibility; register but do not submit payment)
Click here to register.

Please contact the SZBA Coordinator (coordinator(at) if you have any questions! Thanks.

Please note that there is no cell coverage or WIFI available onsite.



Fly into any NYC area airport (Kennedy, LaGuardia, or Newark) and take a bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City.  (See bus instructions below.)

Albany and Newberg airports are both about 1.15 hours away (+ taxi or rental car).

There will also be a chartered bus for SZBA conference attendees. See Ride Share info below.


There is a bus that goes directly to ZMM from Port Authority in NYC.

From Newark it’s easy to get a train to Port Authority, either by express bus or by AirTrain.

The return schedule is also listed.


The closest train is at Rhinecliff (Amtrak). You will need to make your own way from Rhinecliff (taxi, rental car).CarBy Car From the South:
Take NY Thruway 87 to Exit 19 (Kingston). At the traffic circle, take Route 28 West (Pine Hill) for about 20 miles. Turn right at the Mt Tremper exit. Follow the road until you reach a four way intersection. Turn left (onto Plank Rd), cross the bridge, and the entrance is a driveway on the right. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from NYC.By Car From the North:Take NY Thruway 87 to Exit 20 (Saugerties). Turn left on Route 32, then turn right onto Route 212. After about 10 miles, bear left onto Wittenberg Road. Continue on Wittenberg Road until you reach the stop sign where it intersects with Route 212. Go straight through stop sign, past triangular intersection, across small bridge. The Monastery front gate should be visible on your right after you cross the bridge.


Zen Mountain Monastery
871 Plank Road
Mt Tremper, NY 12457

Ride Share

Sign up if you would like to share a ride to the conference–by car or by shared charter bus, from NYC or other places.A shuttle bus will be arranged from Newark Liberty International Airport to Zen Mountain Mounastery. The price of the bus will be divided between the number of people riding.

  • To ZMM (You must arrive at Newark airport by 2:00pm EST on 9/19)
  • From ZMM (Book your departing flight from Newark for no earlier than 12:00pm EST on 9/23)