SZBA Newsletter - June 2015
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2016 SZBA Conference Venue and Dates
Board President's Report
Major Decision-making Process Approved by the Membership
Survey of Associate Members about Age, Education, Training
Member-to-Member Announcements
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2016 SZBA Conference Venue and Dates


Wednesday, Sept 28th - Sunday, October 2nd, 2016


Villa Maria Conference Retreat and Conference Center

Frontenac, Minnesota (one hour's drive from Minneapolis and St. Paul; charter busses will be arranged)

In the interest of making SZBA conferences accessible to our members across North America, extensive research was done on eight potential conference venues in the midwest and on the east coast. Consideration was given to many things including venue cost, average flight costs to nearby cities, transportation from the nearest airport, lodging and food availability for at 125-150 people, meeting space, and of course the presence of a large, beautiful hall for the Dharma Heritage ceremony. Possible venues for future conferences on the east coast have been identified as well. Save the dates!
President's Report

Greeting and bows to each of you. 

The  SZBA board has been meeting regularly and keeping our organization on track for an interesting conference in 2016.

Also, the board has continued its focus on the development of standards.  At this point we have the Decision Making Process in place and the Assessment Committee is actively engaged with the board exploring the best means for assessment. 

Members of the  Assessment committee have expertise in the assessment/evaluation field. As such, they have approached the committee’s task with a professional viewpoint. The committee has encouraged the careful investigation of SZBA’s current membership system to ensure that any potential adjustments are considered which would fit the needs of SZBA once standards are implemented. This exploration will precede the development of the actual methods of evaluation of the standards.

Recently, a survey of the Associate Members was conducted. The results of this survey indicate that there is a wide range of practice experience within the Associate level. Part of what the Assessment Committee has put forth is to create a Novice level  of membership in addition to the existing Associate and Full levels of membership. The survey supports this logic. So this will be an area of exploration. 

With regard to the standards, the board recognizes that the “intensive training standard” should be further investigated.  The board will need to hear membership opinion and suggestions.  We are currently discussing the best venue to use for this conversation with membership.  The board is aiming to begin this conversation during the summer. 

As always, the minutes of all board meetings are posted on the membership section of the SZBA website.  We encourage you to use them as a means to keep up to date with the board’s activities.

Wishing each of you the very best as you turn the Dharma Wheel,

Taihaku Priest,
President, SZBA Board
Board & Committee Reports

Major Decision-Making Process Approved by the Membership

At the 2014 SZBA Conference it was determined through membership discussion that there needed to be a formal process to make major SZBA decisions, one which would define the role the membership plays in making these decisions.

A committee was formed at the conference and approved by the attending membership. The committee (Diane Musho Hamilton, Koun Franz, and Mary Mocine) presented the board with a proposed procedure which was approved by the board with minor editing. It was decided that the Major Decision-making Process itself should be submitted to the membership for approval, using the procedure it outlines for conducting a full membership vote. Click here to read the Major Decision-making Process.

Throughout the month of May full members have been able to vote on-line. We are very pleased to announce the results of the voting. 125 (78%) of our 160 full members voted on this issue. 119 (95%) approved the process and 6 (5%) disapproved. The “Major Decision-making Process” has passed with overwhelming support by membership, putting in place an orderly way to proceed with such things as the development of the standards and assessment. 

Survey of Associate Members Shows Time in Practice, Education, Special Training


Associate board member Ryushin Creedon created a survey for SZBA associate members in order to better understand them, their needs, and what they can contribute to the SZBA. It has been clear from the beginning of associate membership in the SZBA that the modern-day Japanese model of "junior" trainees in their 20's and at the beginning of their training does not in any way fit the profile of SZBA associate members. 50% (59/118) of associate members responded to the survey.

It's interesting to notice that associate member age trends are similar to the full members in that the majority of associates are in their late 40s to mid-60s, (This is the only category that includes information on all 118 members because it was supplemented by information from our database):

4 people (3%) are 20-30
8 people (7%) are 31-40
27 people (23%) are 41-50
32 people (28%) are 51-60
30 people (26%) are 61-70
14 people (12%) are 71-80

Years Practicing
7 people (12%) have practiced 0-10 years
21 people (36%) have practiced 11-20 years
23 people (39%) have practiced 21-30 years
7 people (12%) have practiced 31-40 years
1 person (1%) has practiced more than 40 years

Click here to view the full results of the survey which also included questions about type and amount of residential training, service as shuso, leadership of groups, education, and employment. 

PicMonkey Collage of Board Members Oct 2014Proposals or Questions for your Board?

The SZBA Board is committed to listening to the membership and being responsive. Email the SZBA coordinator ( The Board will consider whether/when to put the item on the agenda for an upcoming board meeting. Board meetings which are held about every 6 weeks, so please be patient. Thanks! Who are your board members? Click here for profiles. 
Member Announcements
All announcements are submitted by members. 
  • In Memoriam - SZBA Members or their students or teachers who have died since the last newsletter
  • Priests Needed - Soto Zen temples in need of priests and teachers
  • Publications by SZBA members
  • Events and Opportunities - In the interest of space, listings are limited to events and opportunities of special interest to priests, or that provide an aspect of priest training that members may not have available in their area.
  • Requests - Special appeals to your fellow SZBA members
Submit announcements at any time to Domyo at Listing here does not imply any endorsement by the SZBA.

In Memoriam

Dave Joko Haselwood

Dave Joko Haselwood died on December 29, 2014, at age 83, after a long illness. Joko began practicing Zen with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in 1963 but remained with him for only one and a half years. Later, he resumed practice with Jakusho Kwong Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, and remained with him for fifteen years and was ordained as a Zen priest. He left Sonoma Mountain in 2000 and began studying at Stone Creek Zen Center with Jisho Warner Roshi. He received dharma transmission (permission to teach) from her and became Associate teacher at Stone Creek. He led the Empty Bowl Sangha for many years. He emphasized the practice of “just sitting” (Shikantaza) and the need to reconnect our body and mind in the practice of being present to life as it arises moment by moment. For a more detailed obituary, click here.

Zenshin Tim Buckley

Zenshin Tim Buckley passed away on April 16, 2015, from lung cancer, at age 72.

Zenshin practiced with Suzuki Roshi at San Francisco Zen Center and at Tassajara in the late 1960′s. He also trained with Harry Roberts, a Native American teacher. Zenshin completed a BA at Harvard and earned a PhD in anthropology from the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of Massachusetts and wrote ground-breaking works on the anthropology of menstruation and on the Yurok Indian way. Zenshin had a full life as a spouse, father, academician, and sailor before returning to formal Zen practice.

Zenshin was eventually priest ordained, received dharma transmission from Yozen Peter Schneider in 2014, and was and founder and teacher at Great River Zendo in West Bath, Maine. Click here and here to read further remembrances of Zenshin.

Priests Needed

New Head Priest at Deep Spring Temple!

Zen Center of Pittsburgh is very pleased to announce that Rev. Kotoku Crivello, of Oakland Zen Center, will assume the position of Head Priest of Deep Spring Temple as of June 1st. His wife Colleen, their dog and cat, will also be making the trip cross country to their new home. Rev. Kyoki Roberts will continue her work with An Olive Branch, the temple's service organization dedicated to helping Buddhist groups with ethical governance and conflict resolution. ( She will continue to reside at Deep Spring.
Submitted by Kyoki Roberts

Priest Needed at Nebraska Zen Center

Because of age and health issues, I need to step down as Abbot of Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple in Omaha Nebraska. The Board of Directors needs to find a replacement. For information about the temple, please see our website at For further information about the position, contact me, Nonin Chowaney, directly at
Submitted by Nonin Chowaney

Milwaukee Zen Center (Kokyo-an) seeking Resident Priest

The Milwaukee Zen Center (MZC) was founded by a few practitioners in the late 70’s or early 80’s with the guidance of Dainin Katagiri, abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis. The MZC’s first resident priest, Tozen Akiyama, arrived in 1985. He was succeeded from 2001-2011 by Tonen O’Connor and from 2011-2013 by Hoko Karnegis. Currently, Tonen has stepped back in as acting priest as we seek a new resident priest.

The MZC owns its home and offers a resident priest a pleasant two-bedroom apartment on the second floor, including utilities, telephone, internet (wifi) and gas for the priest’s car. In addition, a modest amount of financial support is available toward the cost of health insurance or other needs. The sangha assumes responsibility for the majority of tasks in running the Center, and, although not large, has great depth in both years of Zen practice and openness to new members. The zazen schedule during the week is led by sangha members, thus making it possible, if necessary, for the priest to undertake financially remunerative work outside the MZC .
Click here for more information, including the priest's responsibilities. Those wishing to pursue this opportunity are invited to contact Peter Johnson, the President of the MZC Board, at  Please include background information and ask any and all questions.  A visit to the MZC will be arranged for candidates.
Submitted by Tonen O'Connor

The Empty Hand Zen Center of New Rochelle, NY Seeking a New Guiding Teacher

Dear SZBA Friends,
I strongly encourage anyone interested in the position below to request the information packet that our Search Committee has prepared. Empty Hand is a strong, stable and vibrant community!
With palms together,
Myozan Dennis Keegan

History: Shortly before the death of Founder Jion Susan Postal in February 2014, her Dharma Heir, Myozan Dennis Keegan, began leading practice at the Center. Unfortunately, his own serious health issues will prevent him from continuing in this role. He has therefore asked the Center’s Board of Directors to initiate a search for a new Guiding Teacher.
The Empty Hand Zen Center is dedicated to guiding a community of lay Zen practitioners. The priority at the Center is the strong and dedicated practice of shikantaza and the expression of this practice in the midst of daily work and family life. Practice is currently supported by our schedule of zazen and chanting service on weekday mornings and three evenings a week. A fuller schedule, including a formal Dharma Talk is offered every Sunday. Monthly zazenkai and twice-yearly sesshin are also offered.
We seek a Transmitted Teacher or a senior priest who is currently working toward Dharma Transmission in the Soto Tradition. For a full description, including further skills and abilities needed by applicants, click here. The Center intends to offer financial support for the Guiding Teacher to cover lodging, a modest stipend for personal living expenses (food, and local transportation costs, etc.) and assistance with health insurance coverage. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity or to request an information packet containing more background and details, please email your queries to: Glynn DeBrocky: and Shuho Catherine Spaeth:
Submitted by Myozan Dennis Keegan


ZEN & HEALTH - Wholly Wholesome Way World

by Hajime Iwamoto & Rosan Osamu Yoshida
This book tells the true significance, necessity, merits, and possibility of the practice of Zen, Awakened Way, and the wholly wholesome way in everyone’s all daily activities and throughout one’s whole life in a new, original perspective and prognosis of them. Zazen, sitting meditation, stops all karmas (physical, verbal, mental actions and action results, which became our psychophysical beings and behaviors), thus witnesses primordial purity, peace and prognosis. Zen is the core practice (cultivation/verification) of the Awakened Way (Buddhism), realizing unconditioned peace (nirvana) and unsurpassed awakening (anuttara sambodhi) into existence and wakeful life by them in the wholly wholesome way and world. From this vantage point it pervades and penetrates through all actions in harmonious, healthy, happy breathing, body-mouth-mind bearing, cooking, eating, executing errands, cultivating capacities, sporting in skills, etc. Anyone can come and see the detailed description of how Zen is applied and appreciated in breathing, calming and clearing minds and hearts, cooking, eating, sporting, doing duties, transforming the life ways and world in this book. Discount prices for hardcover ($20) and paperback ($15) (Plus postage). Click here to view on
Submitted by Rosan Osamu Yoshida

Entrenar la compasión: Enseñanzas zen para la práctica de Lojong

by Zoketsu Norman Fischer (new Spanish translation)

For SZBA members who speak Spanish or who have Spanish speaking students: a Spanish translation of SZBA member Zoketsu Norman Fischer's book, "Training in Compassion" has been published in Mexico by Grijalbo, a branch of Random House Mexico. It is a very good translation of a very good book.

Submitted by Anka Rick Spencer

Nothing Holy About It: the Zen of Being Just Who You Are

by Zentetsu Tim Burkett

Burkett is the guiding teacher of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and has written his first book. Nothing Holy About It: the Zen of Being Just Who You Are is now available in bookstores and on line at Amazon or Here is Norman Fischer describing the book in the wonderful foreword that he wrote:
As you read Nothing Holy about It, you’ll notice three distinct themes. First, Tim’s heart and teachings. Second, Tim’s life, beginning with his Stanford days—a life whose shape, influenced by many years of Zen practice, is now clear. And third, a portrait of Tim’s teacher, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who was, during the time Tim knew him, not the legendary Zen master he is today but an ordinary Japanese Zen priest, Rev. Suzuki. As a member myself of Suzuki Roshi’s lineage, I have heard many stories about our old teacher, but I have never heard these wonderfully simple and very personal anecdotes of the very earliest days.

The book begins in 1964. Tim was only twenty years old when he became a student of Suzuki Roshi. In his book, he remembers the struggle to raise money for the now famous Tassajara Monastery. He remembers the roaring applause when Suzuki took the stage after Janis Joplin at the Fillmore Auditorium during a fund-raiser. And he remembers Suzuki’s empathy for his long-suffering student, Trudy Dixon, and his tearful “lion’s roar” at her funeral.

Tim also talks about intimate moments with Katagiri Roshi and Chino Roshi and about his own life after he moved to Northern Minnesota where he worked on the Nett Lake Ojibwe Reservation as a social worker. But the stories he tells are always in service of Zen teachings. In his book, the teachings unfold within the ordinary comedies and tragedies of everyday life. He uses poems, Zen art, parables, and koans to show how we realize our interdependent nature through the small things that we do.
Submitted by Rosemary Bussho Taylor

Heirs To Ambedkar: Engaged Buddhism in India

by Hozan Alan Senauke

The movement of Dalit/ex-untouchable Buddhists is a social and spiritual transformation virtually unseen by the rest of the the Buddhist world. Emerging from the legacy of the pivotal Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, these Indian Buddhists number in the tens of millions. Their quest for buddhadharma, eductation, rights, and agency is deeply inspiring. My recent book—Heirs To Ambedkar: The Rebirth of Engaged Buddhism in India—offers a straightforward account of the movement, with particular attention to the remarkable young people I have been working with in central India for the last six years. The book is avaialble at or from Amazon at
Submitted by Hozan Alan Senauke

Entering the Stream: Zen Journal Guides

by Eido Frances Carney

Entering the Stream is the first in a new series of journaling workbooks in the Dharma. Intended for beginning or seasoned practitioners, the journals offer a way to explore various topics that are primary to Zen.

Balancing meditation with personal writing with our own inner thoughts and concerns can help us keep a healthy spiritual connection in daily life. We examine a topic within ourselves and open to receiving wisdom from the community and the world around us. This is not an exercise in developing personal opinion; it is an exercise in opening to the bountiful world of being, finding balance in daily life, and walking with spiritual equilibrium and confidence.

The questions are intended to look inward and outward aiming to keep the balance of not ignoring our own development while understanding that the many teachings in Zen are larger than we are. The point is to open to larger and larger insight and ways of seeing. These books can be used as a curriculum for teachers to assign their students to help maintain a strong dynamic in the student-teacher relationship, and assist students to stay on track in their own development and connections to a teacher and sangha. The books are also helpful for students at a distance from a Dharma center, for those in solitary situations, or for those in Dharma discussion groups. 

Zen Journal Guides are available online through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or at your local bookstore. A Kindle edition is available.
Submitted by Eido Frances Carney

Entering the Monastery

by Renshin Bunce

During the time that I was sewing my first rakusu, then gearing up to move into San Francisco Zen Center, and more importantly while I lived at Tassajara for three years and City Center for four years, I kept an online journal.  Last year, in memory of my dear teacher Myogen Steve Stucky, I gathered those online posts into a book that I published on Amazon and Lulu.  

Poet Jane Hirshfield offered the following review: “Entering the Monastery renders the moment-by-moment, undisguised experience of Zen practice in America with unsurpassable immediacy, sincerity, the warmth of full human presence, and down to the ground detail. It should become a classic."

The book is available on Amazon and also on Lulu.

Commentary on the Song of Awakening:

A Twentieth Century Japanese Zen Master's Commentary on the Seventh Century Poem by the Chinese Ch'an Master Yung-chia Hsuan-chueh

by Kodo Sawaki, translated by Tonen O'Connor

The Song of Awakening (chin. Cheng-tao ke, jap. Shōdōka), is a seminal text within early Chinese Chan (jap. Zen). Written in the seventh century by the Chinese master Yung-chia Hsüan-chüeh (Jap. Yōka Genkaku, known familiarly as Yōka Daishi), this superb poem resonates with Yōka Daishi’s great awakening to the truth of reality. As such, it has had a deep influence on the understanding and practice of a long line of Chinese and Japanese Zen masters and practitioners.

Kōdō Sawaki uses the poetic expression of Shōdōka as a springboard for a wide-ranging commentary that not only elucidates the poem, but adds a rich background of Buddhist teachings and emphasizes Sawaki Roshi’s focus on upright sitting in the zazen posture as the seat of realization. Filled with humor, Japanese folk history, and sometimes a no-holds barred critique of academic and priestly posturing, Sawaki’s commentary is a pleasure to encounter. Click here to read reviews of the book and/or purchase.
Submitted by Tonen O'Connor


Third Latin American Zen Encounter


In 2013, the 110th anniversary of the arrival of Soto Zen to South America was celebrated. During the event hosted in Lima, Peru, the idea of organizing a yearly meeting that would gather all groups and sanghas from South America sprouted under the name of Latin American Zen Encounter. The first meeting was conducted in Buenos Aires Argentina in 2014, the second in Montevideo, Uruguay this year, and in 2016, it will take place in Bogota, Colombia, from March 7th to March 13th. The Sangha of Magnanimous Mind Zen Temple – Daishinji, led by Densho Quintero sensei, will be the host.

Colombia is going through a process of “Peace Negotiations” after more than 50 years of war. Therefore, the subject of the encounter for next year will be, how Zen practice can provide the basis for a sustainable peace in a new society. We will have public forums, talks, exhibits in which Zen teachers will share their experiences, and practice with attendants, including people from different disciplines and countries. At the end of the week we will have a three days sesshin where will be able to deepen into traditional soto zen practice.

We invite everyone from all around the world, who have interest in the development and strengthening of Zen practice in Latin American Countries to be active part in the logistics of the event and come to the encounter.

We will need all the possible help in donations, resources, communications, and supplies, to be able to provide the highest standard of reception for our visitors and to produce a profound and long lasting effect in our country.
Submitted by Denshō Quintero

6th Annual Summer Intensive Residential and Ministerial Training (SPOT)

Join us at the 6th annual Summer Intensive Residential and Ministerial Training (AKA SPOT) for Zen Sangha Leadership, June 18 to July 8, 2015 (with partial attendance possible) in the Sierra Foothills of CA.  This semi-monastic intensive includes daily training and discussion on skills and issues central to leading your own practice center, with a geographically diverse group of Zen practitioners from California, Oregon, Ohio, Vermont and even Vietnam. Get practice support for:
  • Building your sangha with art, movies, and more
  • Giving dharma talks and practice discussion
  • Conflict resolution and prevention
  • Creating appropriate rituals
This year's faculty:
·         Myoan Grace Schireson, Abbess (, Clinical Psychologist and author of Zen Women: Beyond Tea Ladies, Iron Maidens, and Macho Masters. Grace is one of the founders of Shogaku Zen Institute which sponsors this training.
·         Dairyu Michael Wenger, Head Teacher at Dragon's Leap Meditation Center (  in San Francisco, a center where creativity and compassion are cultivated, using brush painting, movie screenings, and other creative activities. Michael is the author of 49 Fingers: A Collection of Modern American Koans. 
·         Hozan Alan Senauke, Vice Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center, Founder and Head of Clear View Project: Buddhist Based Resources for Social Change and Relief (, and author of The Bodhisattva's Embrace.  Alan has been involved in Buddhist and other types of social engagement for 45 years, and is a founding teacher of the SPOT training.  He also specializes in developing authentic ritual expression. 
·         ... and a possible cameo appearance by a pre-eminent Lay Zen teacher
Please click this link for more information, application and scholarship information.
Submitted by Grace Myoan Schireson

Board Minutes Are On the Website

Once approved, the SZBA Board Minutes are posted on the website. Click here (members only page).
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