The SZBA Blog

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

 

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

 

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)szba.org).

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

 

Location

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: www.zmm.org.

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.

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]szba.org) 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)szba.org) 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)szba.org) if you have any questions! Thanks.

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

Transportation

Air

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.

Bus

There is a bus that goes directly to ZMM from Port Authority in NYC. https://trailwaysny.com/bus-from-phoenicia-to-new-york-city/

From Newark it’s easy to get a train to Port Authority, either by express bus or by AirTrain. https://www.rome2rio.com/s/Port-Authority-Bus-Terminal/Newark-Airport-EWR.

The return schedule is also listed.

Train

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.

Address

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)

 

Separating Immigrant Families Statement (6/18/2018)

June 18th, 2018

The SZBA released a public statement on the US policy of separating families seeking refugee at the US-Mexico border. It was signed by over 20o Buddhist leaders.

As Western Buddhist leaders, we unreservedly condemn the recently imposed policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexican border.

Over the past few weeks, thousands of children have been inhumanely taken from their parents by US Customs and Border Protection, in a policy that has been condemned by the United Nations and many international human rights observers. Indeed, no other country has a policy of separating families who intend to seek asylum.

Whatever the legal status of those attempting to enter the US, separating children from their parents is a contravention of basic human rights. Parents seeking asylum make long, dangerous and arduous journeys in an attempt to find safety and well-being for their precious children. Ripping these vulnerable children from their parents is cruel, inhumane, and against the principles of compassion and mercy espoused by all religious traditions. From a Buddhist perspective, it is the close bond between parents and children that nurtures not only the physical well-being of children, but their psychological health and their moral formation.

Separating children from their parents and holding them in detention inflicts terrible and needless trauma and stress on young children that hampers and damages their development, causing long-term damage. This policy being employed on United States soil is morally unconscionable. That such egregious actions be employed as a deterrent for families seeking entry and/or asylum in the U.S. – using the sacred bond between innocent youth and their parents – is unjustifiable on any level. We suggest that our current defenders of this policy visit some of these border crossings and child detention centers so they can experience for themselves the present effects of their decisions. It is difficult to conceive that anyone having compassion for our world’s children and their families, and who witnesses such pain and anguish for themselves could continue to uphold such a practice.

As people of faith and conscience, we feel that it is important that we speak out clearly in defense of basic human rights at this time, calling for an immediate end to this heartless practice. In doing so, we join the voices of many religious leaders and congregations that have unreservedly condemned this policy of separation. This policy is a serious violation of the rights of the child and must be stopped today.

To view signatures: Separating Immigrant Children_Buddhist Statement

SZBA Board Member Profiles

February 21st, 2018

The Board of the SZBA leads the organization, develops and finalizes policy decisions, represents the membership, and gives thought to future directions for the organization.

The Board seeks to embody a balance of various factors including gender, lineage, geography and approach to training.

The Board members of the SZBA include:

More…

2016 SZBA Conference

July 27th, 2016

2014 Conference Attendees

Wednesday, September 28th (evening arrival) –
Sunday, October 2nd (morning departure)

 

Camp Courage Conference & Retreat Center

 Maple Lake, MN

 

Click here to register!

2014 Conference Meeting Hall - SmallerMembers of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, full and associate, are cordially invited to attend the 7th biennial SZBA conference. If you are a Soto Zen priest but not a member of the SZBA, please consider joining the organization!

 

szba-2016-conference-schedule

 

The conference will include:

 

  • 2014 Dharma Heritage Ceremony - SmallerThe Dharma Heritage Ceremony, a formal welcoming for full members that have not yet done this ceremony
  • Lots of opportunities to engage with your peers formally and informally
  • Special breakout sessions presented by members
  • Presentation of SZBA projects and activities, with opportunities for feedback and discussion

 

Responding to the Cries of the World:
Soto Zen Priests and Sanghas in an Age of Climate Change and Social Suffering

One of the themes for this conference will involve exploring the many creative and compassionate ways Soto Zen priests and sanghas are responding to pressing concerns beyond their temple walls. While a priest’s core mission may be to nurture community and support the spiritual practice of individuals, this mission takes place in world with ever-increasing climate disruption, environmental degradation, violence, and social and economic injustice. As Soto Zen Buddhists working in our sanghas and with each other, how can we address the cries of the world to create positive change in society?

 

Keynote Speaker

LoyPhotoAug09.JPG-sized

David Loy, PhD was the Besl Family Chair of Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH from 2006 to 2011. Before that he served as professor of philosophy at Bunkyo University in Chigasaki, Japan from 1991 through 2005. He is an authorized teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan lineage of Zen Buddhism, having studied with Robert Aitken Roshi and Koun Yamada Roshi.

David’s lectures focus on ecological and social issues, and on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity—what each can learn from the other. At our conference, David will speak about “Healing Ecology” to Zen teachers, sharing tools for working with our sanghas, and exploring what Buddhist practice today says about our personal and collective predicament in relation to the rest of the biosphere. David is co-editor of A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency (Wisdom Publications, 2009).

David’s books include, among others: Nonduality: A study in Comparative Philosophy; Lack and Transcendence: The Problem of Death and Life in Psychotherapy, Existentialism, and Buddhism; Money Sex War Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution; The World Is Made of Stories.

 

Guest Presentation – Successful Fundraising: From Hesitance to Confidence
by Thomas Bruner  www.brunerstrategies.com
TB Head Shot - PBJ
From CEO of a scrappy start up in Texas, to Vice President with the nation’s largest humanitarian organization in Washington, D.C., to volunteer at a Buddhist temple in Portland, Oregon, Thomas Bruner has been helping businesses and organizations do great work for decades. As a fundraiser, Bruner has helped an array of organizations across the country raise $300 million to advance their missions – including the successful completion of the first phase of Dharma Rain Zen Center’s capital campaign.

Thomas will facilitate an interactive, hands-on workshop about how we can raise more funds in our Sanghas in ways that are consistent with our values and principles. We will learn how we can be more successful in our fundraising through following topics:

  • managing our ambivalence about money
  • assessing the giving capacity of our sangha
  • building a compelling case for support
  • mobilizing ordained and lay leaders as “askers”
  • developing action plans and tracking systems
  • recognizing and celebrating our successes

 

CCLakesideCabinExteriorVenue:

After many conferences on the West coast (and only one on the East coast!) the SZBA conference will be held at Camp Courage, which is a little over an hour from the Minneapolis/St.Paul airport (charter busses will be arranged).

 

Cost & Registration

The conference is open to SZBA members who have paid 2016 dues. Full member dues are $125, associate dues are $40, although you can pay less as necessary. The conference fee for full and associate members is the same. Contact the SZBA Coordinator (coordinator(at)szba.org) if you want to apply for membership or have any questions.

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]szba.org) about your interest in attending and how much you would be able to pay.

 

Conference Fees – Three Options

  1. $375 – Conference Fee + help priests on a limited income attend
  2. $325 – Basic Conference Fee (includes conference, housing and meals)
  3. I would like to come but can only pay $ _____ (we will contact you about this possibility; register but do not submit payment)

 

Registration – Two Options

  1. Click here to register using our event management software (Wild Apricot).
    From within Wild Apricot, you can
    :
    – submit payment immediately using paypal, or
    – submit your registration information without payment (your registration will still go through), and then send a check or wait for the email invoice. 
  2. Mail in the paper registration form included in the conference brochure that will be mailed to all members in May.

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

 

Still debating whether to come? Check out these pictures and resources from past conferences!

Remember: if you’ve forgotten how log on to the member’s section of the SZBA website, contact the SZBA coordinator (coordinator@szba.org)

2014 Conference resources, including:

2012 Conference Resources
2010 Conference Resources



Soto Zen Buddhist Association Statement on the Orlando Tragedy

June 21st, 2016

SZBA Orlando

Click here to view a downloadable version of the statement

Soto Zen Buddhist Association Statement on the Orlando Tragedy

As members of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association — along with communities and practitioners of all faiths — we stand in solidarity with those who seek to live in peace and nonviolence, and grieve for the loss of life in Orlando. In particular we extend our heartfelt compassion to Orlando’s Latino and LBGTQ communities, their friends and families.

 

In the Dhammapada Shakyamuni Buddha, says: “Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time. Hatred ceases by love. This is an eternal law.” While we cannot untangle the thoughts and emotions of the shooter, quite aside from political dimensions, this is a crime motivated by delusion. Our world will never be free from conflict, but we yearn for a human culture in which one person’s views will not lead to another’s death.

 

We reflect, too, that mass shootings in Orlando, Paris, San Bernardino, Aurora, Newton, and throughout the world are facilitated by the ready availability of assault-style automatic weapons. These weapons, designed for military application not for sport, do not belong on our streets.

 

In the name of those below, and all victims of gender violence, hatred, racism, and homophobia — our sisters and brothers — we call for people and our elected leaders to wake from delusion and vow to resolve our differences with the strength of nonviolence. In this spirit we call the names of the dead in Orlando:

 

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Amanda Alvear, 25

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33

Antonio Davon Brown, 29

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

Luis Daniel Conde, 39

Cory James Connell, 21

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22

Paul Terrell Henry, 41

Frank Hernandez, 27

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25

Kimberly Morris, 37

Akyra Monet Murray, 18

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

Luis S. Vielma, 22

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

Omar Mateen, 29

With palms together,

Hozan Senauke Signature

Hozan Alan Senauke

President, Soto Zen Buddhist Association

 

 

 

To see photos and read brief stories of those who died at Pulse:

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/06/12/481785763/heres-what-we-know-about-the-orlando-shooting-victims

 

Press Release: A Western Soto Zen Buddhist Statement on the Climate Crisis

April 18th, 2016

 PRESS RELEASE on
A WESTERN SOTO ZEN BUDDHIST STATEMENT ON THE CLIMATE CRISISClimate Statement Document Image

April 18, 2016

Today it is our responsibility as Buddhists and as human beings to respond to an unfolding human-made climate emergency that threatens life. 

The statement below offers a Zen Buddhist perspective on the climate emergency, expressing deep concern and pointing towards actions to halt and reverse climate change. It is a first step.

This statement is a unique collaboration among Soto Zen Buddhists in the west. Soto Zen, with its Japanese roots in the 13th century teachings of Eihei Dogen, emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, developing a down-to-earth awareness of one’s own mind as expressed in all areas of daily life — at home, at work, and in society.

Among the largest of Japan’s Buddhist denominations, Soto Zen was brought to the west by teachers like Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Dainin Katagiri Roshi, Jiyu Kennett Roshi, and other spiritual pioneers creating Zen centers throughout the continent. The members and teachers of these centers are deeply concerned about the fate of the earth, of our children, of their children, and all beings. The statement argues:

There is an uncontestable scientific consensus that our addiction to fossil fuels and the resulting release of massive amounts of carbon has already reached a tipping point. The melting of polar ice presages floods in coastal regions and the destabilization of oceanic currents and whole populations of sea life…Severe and abnormal weather bring devastating hurricanes and cyclones around the world. Eminent biologists predict that petroleum-fueled “business as usual” will lead to the extinction of half of all species on Earth by the close of the twenty-first century.

This statement is signed by Rev. Gengo Akiba, who serves as sokan (or bishop) of the Japanese Sotoshu (or School) in the U.S., and as head of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists (ASZB), representing more than 100 Zen priests authorized by Shotoshu headquarters in Japan. It is jointly signed by Rev. Hozan Alan Senauke, president of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA), representing western Zen priests recognized in North America. This is the first time these organizations have collaborated on an urgent social issue.

Coming on the heels of the December 2015 United Nations Climate Conference in Paris and Pope Francis’s landmark encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, this statement intends to spur a wider discussion in Zen centers and communities, as well as encouraging denominations and religious communities of all faith traditions to express themselves about the fate of the earth.

Click here to see the Western Soto Zen Buddhist Statement on the Climate Crisis

For further information, contact the Soto Zen Buddhist Association
Hozan Alan Senauke: alans@kushiki.org
or: coordinator@szba.org

2014 Conference Report and Resources

September 5th, 2015

Live Blog of the Conference
Photos & Video
Resources (Audio/Video/Etc.)

From Wednesday evening, October 1st, through Saturday evening, October 4th, 101 SZBA members gathered at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, for the 6th biannual SZBA conference. In attendance were 72 full members and 29 associate members, and the schedule was full! SZBA 2014 Conference Schedule 2014 Conference Schedule

Live Blog of the Conference

One of our members, James Ford, did us the favor of live-blogging throughout the conference, so for a personal account of the conference, click here to read his blog (make sure to click the arrows at the top or bottom to read about subsequent days). Note that this is a personal blog, not an “official” SZBA report.

Photos & Video

Many photos were taken as well. Click here to access the photos so generously taken and shared by Hoko Karnegis and Shinsen Troy Couillard. (Please email coordinator@szba.org if you don’t know the member login information.)

Hoko Karnegis also made a lovely slideshow of her photos, including music, that you can view below.


Conference Resources

Click here to access the audio files from the conference (please email Domyo at coordinator@szba.org if you don’t know the login information), including:

  • Dr. Paula Arai’s Keynote Address on Zen Healing Rituals
  • Dr. Paula Arai’s presentation and workshop on Brainstorming Rituals
  • The first of the large group sessions on Membership Standards, facilitated by Hozan Senauke
  • The six “TED-style” talks on “The Continuation of Soto Zen Sanghas through the Generations”
  • The breakout session led by Taigen Leighton and Shodo Spring on Positive Responses to Climate Change

The same link works for all of the audio, they reside in the SZBA Dropbox.