Association of Soto Zen Buddhists
I took a trip down to Los Angeles from September 7th to 9th for the yearly meeting of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists, which is the North American branch of the Japanese Soto school. On the first day, we had an opening ceremony, a short check in of all the participants, about 35 in all, and various yearly reports.
The second day featured discussions about several things, principally Akiba Roshi's proposal for a traditional Japanese Zen temple in America, as well as the possibility of the SBZA, the American Soto Zen Organization, taking over the accreditation of Soto Zen in America.
The last day was a free, open discussion of Soto Zen history in Japan and how it relates to our history, led by Carl Bielefeldt. As with many of these meetings, the informal sessions with all of the participants was the highlight of the weekend. On the 9th I was picked up by Peter Schneider of Beginner's Mind Center in Northridge.
They have a wonderful, thriving center where I led a class on the Diamond Sutra, gave a talk on the full moon ceremony, and led them in a full moon ceremony, which being very Western, was at high noon. Saturday afternoon I led a painting class and we had dinner with my old friend Robert Buswell, professor of Buddhist studies at UCLA. Everywhere I go people are asking where Dragons Leap is going to land.
Trip to Santa Fe, September 23-25th
I went to Santa Fe for Dragon Mountain's Yearly board meeting. Caroline Hinkley, one of the board members, had just moved out there. Her previous house near Boulder had burned down right after our last meeting.
Coincidentally, she moved in next to Deborah Madison, former Green's chef and cookbook writer extraordinaire. Steve and Angelique told us of their plans for Dragon Mountain, and outside the meeting we had a wonderful time with Deborah and her husband Patrick.
The board consists of Steve Allen, Angelique, myself, Caroline Hinkly, and Sean Ruffy. The food was good and thankfully this year nobody's house burned down.