Soto Zen Buddhist Association Mail - The SZBA Quarterly Newsletter for April 2014
Soto Zen Buddhist Association Mail Domyo Burk <>

The SZBA Quarterly Newsletter for April 2014

Soto Zen Buddhist Association <> Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Reply-To: "Domyo Burk, SZBA Coordinator" <>
To: "Domyo Burk, SZBA Coordinator" <>

SZBA Quarterly Newsletter
April 2014

 Please note: you may have received this email yesterday, but I am sending it out again today because I have added a physical mailing address and a clear unsubscribe link so it's less likely to end up in your spam filter. Sorry for any inconvenience. Gassho, Domyo (your SZBA Administrative Coordinator)

Welcome to Your SZBA Newsletter!
This Quarterly Newsletter is meant to keep you up-to-date on the activities of your organization, and to encourage your involvement in it. Be sure to check out the following sections:
Updates & News
New Board Member
The SZBA Board welcomed Tenku Ruff as a new member in January. She replaces Shotai DeLaRosa, who had to resign for personal reasons. Thanks for your service, Shotai! Tenku was on the list of candidates offered by the nominating committee during its last process. Click here to see profiles of all board members.

Developments: 2014 Conference
The 2014 National Conference will be held at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon, Wednesday, October 1st through Sunday, October 5thStay tuned! Soon you will receive a special conference email invite, a brochure in the mail, and an opportunity to register.

Theme: Dharma and Ritual

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Paula Arai on "Homegrown Zen Healing Rituals." Arai presents a Sōtō Zen healing paradigm that includes ten principles, focusing on experiencing interrelatedness by engaging in ritualized activities. Combining Dōgen's teachings with ethnographic research in Japan, she ascertains healing is the activity of actualizing Buddha-nature.

Additional sessions and activities likely to include:
  • Discussion & member feedback on standards assessment & implementation
  • Discussion: Continuation of Soto Zen over the Generations
  • Memorial service for members who have died in the last two years
  • Intro to conducting Daihannya, Jizo-bon and/or Kshitagarbha Ceremonies
  • Baika Workshop (Soto Zen's hymn-singing tradition)
  • Information for Soto Zen priests seeking to become chaplains
  • Presentation on the Tempyozan project
  • Presentation of women ancestor ketchimyakus
  • Intro to the council process
  • Banquet and "non-talent" show
Also - don't forget the Dharma Heritage ceremony. If you are a full member and have not participated in the Dharma Heritage ceremony before (even if you have done Zuisse), please consider taking this symbolic step with your fellow SZBA members! Email the coordinator to get on the list of Dharma Heritage candidates.

Board Nominations Needed
The Nominating Committee, appointed at our last conference, consists of Tonen O’Connor (Chair), Hogen Bays, Yozen Peter Schneider and Joen Snyder-O'Neal. Daijaku Kinst and Ejo McMullen will leave the Board following the national conference and thus we will have vacancies for two full members.

The committee is charged with soliciting your nominations for vacancies on the Board to be filled by members who will take their seat on the Board at the conclusion of our upcoming 2014 Conference in October.
  1. Names of full members are placed in nomination, keeping in mind the goal of achieving the best possible balance in terms of geography, gender, race, age, lineage, experience, type of training, and size of organization, with primary emphasis placed on members who are dedicated to serving the overall constituency.
  2. You need not be aware of a nominee’s actual availability, as the Nominating Committee will follow through with each nominee to explain the expectations placed upon Board members and ascertain their willingness to serve.
  3. With the exception of members of the Nominating Committee, ALL members of the SZBA may nominate candidates. You can nominate yourself.
  4. Please send your nominations to Domyo Burk, SZBA Coordinator, by the deadline of June 1, 2014. She may be contacted via email at or via regular mail at 1529 SE Hawthorne Blvd #205, Portland OR 97214.
  5. The coordinator will send all nominations to the Committee, which will vet the nominees and forward its recommendations for five candidates to the Board, from which it will make the final selection of two new members.
To access a list of members to consider for nomination, click here(Email Domyo at for the simple login username and password if you don’t know it). Please note: you will also receive this request in a separate email, and via snail mail. 

Report from Your Board
The Board held teleconferences on 1/6/2014 and 2/21/2014, and an in-person meeting in San Francisco March 22-23. The minutes of these meetings, as usual, are (or will be) available on the website. (Email Domyo at for the simple login username and password if you don’t know it.).

In addition to the usual housekeeping items, the meetings included discussions of the following:
  • The costs of holding the biannual conference have increased, conference fee will also have to increase. Board supports creativity in making sure the SZBA nets the same amount of money but also making sure anyone who wants to come to the conference is able to come. Plan for a fee schedule that includes an “I would go but I can’t afford it option” and a “pay extra to help others” option.
  • Changes to membership section of bylaws. In the last ten years, with membership participation and feedback, a number of changes have been made regarding membership eligibility and requirements (such as the ethics statement requirement). The board discussed possible updates to the membership section of the bylaws.
  • Nominating process for new board members. Two new members will begin terms at the board meeting at the end of the national conference in October; they will have to be selected well ahead of time so they can make plans to attend. Request for nominations will go out to the membership by mail & email in April, nominating committee will offer a list of five candidates to the board.
  • Problems with board terms ending mid-year. The board discussed the need for the bylaw revision about adjusting board terms slightly in order to avoid the need to replace members mid-year (this makes it difficult to use the formal nominating process, which includes input from the membership).
  • Membership standards. The board reviewed the latest revision of the standards document in detail, which incorporated feedback received from members in January and February. Taihaku also sent detailed responses to all members who sent feedback, addressing any concerns they had. 
  • Standards phase two – assessment and implementation. The board created an outline for how to proceed with standards. At this time the plan is for a new committee to be formed to propose procedures and guidelines for assessing whether a new applicant for full membership has met the membership standards, and present this to the membership for feedback at the October conference. Afterwards, a committee will continue with refinement of the assessment process plus a plan for implementation.
  • Conference. The board reviewed the up-to-date conference planning notes. It was understood that after the board meeting the conference program committee will start actively planning and making any decisions the board has not weighed in on.
  • Getting ethics statements from all members. Only have statements from about 40% of members. Board discussed reaching out for a volunteer to help collect and review these in order to get caught up (from there on out it can be something the coordinator or membership committee do). The coordinator will also work on the template for an individual ethics statement so it can be more easily adopted by people who need it. 
Member-to-Member Announcements
Thanks for your submissions of items that may be of particular interest to SZBA members as priests, or as teachers of priests.
Sorry we don't have space to include the many wonderful retreats and programs happening in all of your sanghas! 

In Memoriam

Myogen Steve Stucky (3/6/1946 - 12/31/2013)
submitted by Renshin Bunce

My teacher Myogen was only 67 when he received his diagnosis of stage four pancreatic cancer, and had just agreed to serve an additional three years as Central Abbot of San Francisco Zen Center. 

Two days after he learned that he only had months to live, he gave the regular Wednesday night talk at Green Gulch Farm.  The talk he gave is titled “Gratitude.”  I was reminded of the way he taught us to meet the fire that threatened to destroy Tassajara in 2008: he didn’t talk about dominating it or fighting it, he talked about meeting it and investigating it and even learning from it.  He faced death in the same way that he faced life.  Six weeks after we received the shocking news, I had a chance to ask him “What shall I tell students in the future when they ask me about your dharma?”  He was by this time quite sick and taking many drugs, but he, as always, took a moment to think about my question, and then gave me a straight answer.  He said, “Endless inquiry.  Not turning away from reality, and when you do turn away from reality -- stop, and resume endless inquiry.”

We went through a number of ceremonies at his home in the weeks following his diagnosis, ceremonies that became urgent as the disease progressed.  When he gave transmission to my dharma sister Koshin Christine Palmer, he handed his ritual implements over to her and spoke of his impending death.  Because of the way he trained me, I could sincerely tell him that I now understood that there is no death, and that he will continue to live in the heart/minds of his students long after his body is gone.

Susan Jion Postal (4/20/1940 - 2/7/2014)
submitted by Myozan Dennis Keegan

Jion Susan Postal, Founding Teacher of the Empty Hand Zen Center, passed from this life on February 7th. Born in Los Angeles in 1940, she grew up in California and Arizona, graduating from Stanford U. before entering Harvard. She began Buddhist practice in 1970 within the Dzogchen tradition. She initiated her Zen practice in 1980 at the Zen Community of New York. In 1987 she continued study under the guidance of Maurine Myo-on Stuart, who ordained her as Zen Priest in 1988. After Maurine Stuart’s death in 1990, Susan continued to guide practice for a growing Zen group north of New York City. In 2000 she began studying with Darlene Cohen of the Russian River Zendo, in the Soto Zen lineage of Shunryu Suzuki, receiving Dharma Transmission from Darlene in 2008.

In 2006 Jion founded the Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, NY at a site purchased the previous year. She resided at the Center, serving students there until the final week of her life.

Jion’s decades of Buddhist practice were also decades of chronic debilitating illness. Her personal warmth, kindness and humor attracted students, and her dedication to practice, particularly in the face of her deepening illness, provided a continual inspiration for them.  Throughout her life as a Zen priest, Jion was active in Interfaith Dialogue, in both church and university settings. She is survived by her two children, five grandchildren and a thriving sangha.

Nishijima Gudo Wafu (11/29/1919 – 1/28/2014)
submitted by Jundo Cohen

NISHIJIMA GUDO WAFU (西嶋愚道和夫) passed from this visible world in January, age 94. He leaves many students in the United States, as well as Europe and the UK, Israel and Japan. Nishijima Roshi was fond of saying that death is just a fact of this moment.  He practiced Zazen for nearly 80 years, and inspired by his early teacher, Master “Homeless” Kodo Sawaki, Nishijima Roshi was tireless in his efforts to restore Zazen to its place as the center of Buddhist practice. Master Nishijima was ordained and received Dharma Transmission from the late Rempo Niwa Zenji, Abbot of Eihei-ji temple and ‘Kancho’ of the Sōtō School in Japan. He wrote and translated many books on Buddhism in both Japanese and English, including full translations into modern Japanese, English and German of Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo and the Shinji Shobogenzo. Master Nishijima also sought to bring the practice of Zazen out from behind monastery walls into our homes and work places, and to Ordain Soto Zen clergy stepping through and beyond the traditional Sangha divisions of Priest and Lay, Male and Female. In his memory, his students ask simply for the sitting of Zazen.

Requests and Suggestions

Search for Head Priest at Zen Center of Pittsburgh - As most of you know, I have recently stepped down as Head Priest due to medical issues. Zen Center of Pittsburgh is currently searching for a new Head Priest. If a) your center has recently gone through this process, our search committee would love to talk to you concerning your learning curve, and b) if you or one of your senior students would like to be considered for the position, please email me at

Zen Center of Pittsburgh sits on the loveliest fourteen acres in Pennsylvania. We are thirty minutes north of town in a semi-rural, mostly wooded, neighborhood. We have about 15-20 regulars with 250 supporters.

submitted by Kyoki Roberts

Residential & Ministerial Training for Zen Sangha Leadership 
Shogaku Zen Institute presents our third annual summer intensive in Residential & Ministerial Training for Zen Sangha Leadership (part of the SPOT training), June 30 to July 23, 2014 at Empty Nest Zendo near Fresno, CA. This intensive is for Zen practitioners who are leading or preparing to lead Zen sanghas. Zen priests and lay teachers are invited to apply (partial attendance by permission). This year's focus is How to conduct Practice Interviews and is appropriate for: priest candidates, lay teachers, Dharma heirs and sangha leaders:

Topics covered - how to:

  • Conduct practice interviews
  • Distinguish between spiritual direction, practice discussion, spiritual counseling, & psychotherapy.
  • Understand sangha group dynamics
  • Offer community outreach

This year's faculty: Myoan Grace Schireson, Hozan Alan Senauke, and Hoka Chris Fortin - all Soto Zen Dharma Heirs and members of SZBA. For more information or to request an application, email Laurie Senauke: Website:    

- submitted by Grace Schireson

Tempyozan International Training Monastery Update - The intended mission of Tempyozan Monastery is to offer lineage-neutral support for training  the next generation of Soto Zen teachers, and to create opportunities for cross pollination with other disciplines and wisdom traditions. The completed project will be a unique collaboration on an international scale.

The foundation for the first building is underway and the first shipments of timber have arrived. A team of Master Carpenters will come from Japan at the end of April to begin construction of the traditional timber-frame monastic complex.

This endeavor will best succeed with the support of the SZBA sangha. While the materiel for the timber frame buildings are being donated by Rev. Togari and others in Japan, the structural and organizational foundations must be home-grown.  We invite your participation now and in the future. Current project needs:

  • Major donors, with naming opportunities to fully develop facilities and programs.
  • Board members, and Advisory Board members for the new and independent non-profit.
  • Sponsorship of inscriptions on the back of each of the 2,000+ handcrafted roof tiles that will cover the complex.
  • Volunteer support at our office in Oakland, and the site in Lake County California.
  • Off-site specialized skills, such as graphic & web design, outreach, book keeping, legal counsel, and more...

 Contact Justin Juntoku McCoy- submitted by Juntoku McCoy

Dharma Drive Across America - Since many of our Sangha members at Treeleaf cannot attend a retreat due to age and health or economic and family responsibilities, we are announcing our first "Whistle-Stop Zazenkai" from mid-July to late August of this year, where I (Jundo) will be traveling from Maine to New York to the Deep South, Washington D.C. to Tennessee, Indiana, up to Chicago and points in between, visiting with and leading short Zazenkai in the living rooms of many of our members who cannot come to us (we will be mostly east of the Mississippi this time, but anticipate like treks in Europe and the western US/Canada in the coming years). Check out the Amtrak route maps and other details here. Would love to meet some SZBA members, sit with some Sanghas along the way. If anyone would like to invite a wandering Zen guy (and his 11 year old son), we can always use a hot meal and a simple place to sleep along the route too.
- submitted by Jundo Cohen

Book Releases
The Song Of Awakening, Kodo Sawaki's Commentary on the poem by the 7th century Chan master Yung-chia Hsuan-chueh (Yoka Genkaku). 

English translation by Tonen O'Connor based on the French version by Janine Coursin.  Foreword by Shohaku Okumura. 
Publisher: MerwinAsia, distributed through University of Hawaii Press.

- submitted by Tonen O'Connor

Most Intimate: A Zen Approach to Life's Challenges
by Pat Enkyo O'Hara

Enkyo O’Hara’s book on intimacy is just out from Shambhala publications:

- submitted by Pat Enkyo O'Hara

Idiot's Guides: Zen Living
by Domyo Burk

Ever in need of a book that gives an accessible but thorough explanation of Zen practice and teachings? One suitable for beginners (or even people uninterested in practice), but substantial enough for long-term practitioners who need to fill in the gaps in their knowledge?

Don't let the "Idiot's Guide" title/series throw you off. This book is 300 pages long and gives a clear and complete introduction to a number of aspects of Zen practice, including zazen, mindfulness, precepts, karma work, cultivating insight and sangha. It offers an explanation of foundational Buddhist/Zen teachings including dukkha, the Four Noble Truths, the delusion of the inherent-existing self-nature, emptiness, suchness, and the nature of awakening. It covers how to deepen and sustain your practice over time, and how to practice in the midst of everyday life.

Click here for link to Amazon and a detailed table of contents.

- s
ubmitted by Domyo Burk

Zen & Budo
by Taisen Deshimaru, edited by Philippe Coupey

An approach towards the Zen mind through the martial arts.
Zen and Budo is the very first text which Philippe Coupey worked on with the Master Deshimaru, who was part of the original development of Zen in France in the 1970s.
This text is taken from an initiation talk on the practice of Zen and the martial arts given by Master Deshimaru in Switzerland in 1975. It reminds us of the links between Zen and Budo, both leading to the awakening of the mind and deepening the connections which exist between meditation and action.
This bi-lingual book in French and English (English on one page and French on the other, so that reading is not disrupted) should interest both practitioners of the martial arts as well as followers of Zen.

Editions Budo, 2014 - Distribution for North America:

- submitted by Philippe Coupey

Zen Road Magazine

We created the magazine to give space to our thoughts on Zen and to offer more accessible reading matter – in contrast with traditional teaching which requires slow reading and the beauty and depth of which leave many residual impressions.
We have envisaged these impressions in a contemporary context. You will find them dotted about in different themes, which interest us as they concern the evolution of Zen in the West. As we don’t see Western Zen as completed or established but as something that that goes on being created, preserving authenticity and enabling daily practice.
Preview and order:

- submitted by Philippe Coupey

In this Issue

Updates & News:
New Board Member
2014 Conference Updates
Board Nominations Needed

Board Report

Member Announcements:
In Memoriam
Requests & Suggestions
Recent Book Releases

Proposals for the Board?
The SZBA Board is committed to listening to the membership and being responsive. If you have a proposal that you would like the Board to consider, please email the SZBA coordinator (

You should receive a timely response indicating your message has been received. The Board will consider whether/when to put the item on the agenda for an upcoming board meeting. Most SZBA decisions are made at board meetings which are held about every 6 weeks, so please be patient. Thanks!

Who are your board members? Click here for profiles

Don't Forget Our Website!
The members’ section of our website has board minutes, committee updates, history, member directories, resources and more! Go to

There is a simple username and password for the members’ section - but don’t let that stop you! Email Domyo at for the simple login information if you need it. It's easy to remember it if you make a habit of checking out the website.
Save the Dates!
October 1-5
2014 SZBA Conference


Full Members
Associate Members

Email Domyo at 
for the simple login information if you need it.

Yahoo Group Listserves

The listserves allow members to communicate with each other directly. Contact Domyo at
to be added to either the full or associate member listserve.

Copyright © 2013 Soto Zen Buddhist Association. All rights reserved.
Contact:Domyo Burk, SZBA Coordinator
Contact email:
Contact Phone: 971-207-1843
Contact Address: 1529 SE Hawthorne Blvd #205 Portland Oregon 97214 United States
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