Saturday, November 19, 2011

Mandala Project Video

The Mandala Project | Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Vimeo
Video by Sangha member Tim Metzger

The word "Mandala," meaning "circle” in Sanskrit, actually conveys many other ideas as well. It can also suggest the way time and space manifest in a single instant of creative energy. For Kwong-Roshi there is “a true Mandala that fully exists within ourselves, and that can help guide us to our own original stillness, which is always there."
Sonoma Mandala Project Homepage

Jakusho Kwong-roshi has long envisioned creating a Mandala of buildings on Sonoma Mountain near Santa Rosa, CA to continue Suzuki-roshi’s lineage and support authentic practice, dedicated to the protection and awakening of all beings, for the next three hundred years. Recently it’s become clear that the existing zendo (meditation hall), which does not meet county code requirements, must be replaced. Since the cost of renovation and retrofit would be nearly the same as building a new zendo, Roshi, with his Advisory Board, has begun the process of designing a Mandala master plan, which will also eventually include a kitchen, an office, a dining hall, and accommodations for staff as well as guests. The new zendo will be the first, central step. The complete Mandala will follow.

Kwong-roshi is a successor in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi. He has been teaching Zen in the United States and Europe for more than thirty years. He is the founder and abbot of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center outside of Santa Rosa, California. In 1995 he was given the title of Dendo Kyoshi, Zen Teacher, by the Soto School in Japan. He is one of nine Western Zen teachers to receive this acknowledgment. "Zen," he says, "is the aliveness we bring to each moment."



We respectfully make this announcement to all buddhas in the ten directions, to sages and monks in the heavenly and human worlds, to the eight types of guardians in the dragon realm, and to generous men and women. We wish to construct a training hall with donations, however small they may be, from people's pure heart.

The Bodhisattva Precepts Sutra says, "Children of the Buddha, you should guide sentient beings by constructing monasteries and building stupas in the mountains, forests, gardens, and fields. You should establish training halls for holding winter and summer practice periods for zazen and all other practices. You would be negligent if you failed to do so."

All temples and monasteries are practice places of buddhas. Buddhist monasteries in China are modeled after those in India. Japanese monasteries should follow these examples. Constructing a monastery is of great significance and its merit is profound; it has much to offer to people.

For some years now, ever since I returned to Japan from China, I have vowed to establish a monastery. But there has not been a place suitable to support monks' formal practice using bowls and robes. Now we have acquired an excellent place. It is located in the compound of the Gokuraku Temple near Fukakusa. We have named this place the Kannondori. Although it is still covered with weeds and not yet functioning, we plan to build a training monastery here.

The primary components of a monastery are a buddha hall, a dharma hall, and a monks' hall. We have a buddha hall and we do not have a dharma hall. But we urgently need a monks' hall. We need to build [describes size, platforms]sacred figure of Manjushri will be enshrined in the center of the hall, to be surrounded by the practicing monks.

The ancient practice of formally taking refuge in the three treasures together as a group in one hall is still alive today. Its merit is enormous and its effect is broad. We will thoroughly engage in each activity in order to cultivate fertile conditions to transform the ten directions.

We will acknowledge the gifts by installing the donors' names inside the sacred image of Manjushri. The enshrined names will form myriad syllables as seeds of wisdom illuminating everyone. Those who attain the way in this hall will be guiding masters of the people, and will not only reach the human realm, but beyond. They will transform beings in the heavenly realm and in the dragons' palace. Those in the realms of invisible and divine will also listen. Thus this dharma wheel transmitted from Shakyamuni Buddha will reach everywhere.
Respectfully yours, Abbot of the Kannondori Monastery
The 12th month, the 1st year of the Katei Era.
(Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen, ed. Kaz Tanahashi)

Dogen Zenji, founder of Soto Zen, was born on January 2, 1200 CE. This was during the Kamakura Period of Japanese history, the year following the death of Minamoto Yoritomo.

links / see also
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center
Sonoma Mandala Project Homepage
Mountain Wind: Mandala Bazaar 2011 | slideshow
Mountain Wind: Sonoma Mandala Bazaar

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mountain Wind - Fourth Quarter, 2011

This volume includes the following articles:
Dharma Talk by Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Sept.1, 2007 at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

Pine Siskin Feathers #2, Fred Jacobs photo

Sangha Notes • Resident Update • New Members

Kwong-roshi’s Visit to Iceland
by Astvaldur Zenki Traustason and Mikhael Óskarsson

Andri Ottosson receiving his rakusu from Kwong-roshi, Iceland

Entering Your Life – Roshi’s Visit To Poland
by Matthew Krasner

Hoshi Ceremony for Ewa Orlovska “Sanko” and Jurek Dmuchowski “Kuun” during 7-day sesshin, part of the 30-day Ango in Wilga, Poland

Ango Haiku by Matthew Krasner

Calendar (November 2011 - February 2012)

Zen Dust Store

Summer Ango Theme
~ Shuso Barbara Etsuho “Joyful Dharma” Bobes

Ango participants following the closing ceremony on August 27

Impressions From Ango by Donen Ted O’Toole

Four Stones by Donen Ted O’Toole

Interview with Barbara Bobes, Summer Shuso, 2011
by Neil Sekiku Myers

SMZC’s Second Annual Mandala Bazaar
by Neil Myers & Cam Kwong

Demian Nyoze Kwong and Kwong-roshi kick off the Bazaar
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center hosted its Second Annual Mandala Bazaar on the Mountain on Saturday, September 3, 2011, in support of its Mandala Building Project.

Ten Ten Taiko

Mandala Bazaar Raffle Winners

Advisory Board Meeting Notes • SMZC Wish List
Resident Training Scholarships Available

Mountain Wind News by Chris Katsuzen King, Editor
The staff of Mountain Wind wishes to thank everyone who has contributed to this issue of the newsletter. Traditionally the newsletter is much fuller after our Summer and Winter Angos. This issue is no exception and is even fuller with articles and coverage of our Fall Bazaar and Hoshi Ceremonies in Iceland and Poland. We also wish to apologize for the lateness of this issue. We were faced with late submissions and unexpected circumstances. Looking ahead, the deadline for our upcoming January-March, 2012 issue is Saturday, Dec. 3rd. Please submit all articles on or before that date.

Please subscribe to receive the current volume by donating below.

TO SUBSCRIBE - Donate a minimum of $25. Once you have made your donation please email us your receipt and include your newsletter format preference (print or electronic), and your contact information.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sonoma Mandala Raffle 2011

Sonoma Mandala Raffle 2011

Please join us this September 3rd for our
Second Annual Sonoma Mandala Bazaar!
- and don't forget to buy your raffle tickets!

We have some wonderful prizes again this year.

Calligraphy of Tozan-zenji’s enlightenment poem
done by Jakusho Kwong-roshi for the 2010 Sonoma Mandala Bazaar
- the first prize for that year’s raffle.

The highlight of the Bazaar will be a raffle featuring many prizes, including the grand prize - a framed original calligraphy by SMZC’s abbot, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, author of No Beginning, No End. Tickets at $4.00 each can be purchased online at, from Zen Center members, or by calling 545-8105."


Dear Members and Friends,

We are now starting our 2nd Annual Sonoma Mandala Raffle and we are offering many new and exciting prizes. We wish to thank everyone who supported last year’s raffle allowing us to raise $2,623 toward the Sonoma Mandala Project. This year we are planning to raise $5,000. This is a major portion of the funds raised through our annual Bazaar and will greatly help us in reaching our Mandala Project Fundraising Goal.

There are many ways to support the raffle: buying tickets, and selling to friends, family and co-workers. Some possible ways to sell are through email and Facebook.

Thank you for your past support of the Sonoma Mountain Mandala Project. Each and every contribution brings us that much closer to the construction our new meditation hall. If you have questions or would like to contact us, please email or phone (707) 545-8105.

Chris King and Sid Simpson
Mandala Raffle Committee


Sonoma Mandala Raffle 2011
Second Annual Sonoma Mandala Bazaar
Sonoma Mandala Project


Third Quarter, 2011 • July - September

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mountain Wind - Third Quarter, 2011

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration, April 10
Photo by David Busch

This volume includes the following articles:
Dharma Talk by Jakusho Kwong-roshi on May 14, 2011:
Tangled Wisteria - Katto
"   ...Each person has no separation from anything. You are you, and completely you, and I am me.

I’d like to go into this in more detail. This morning the flowers got me, and I got the flowers. When that happens, you’re rejuvenated. It’s not just flowers. It can be anything...   "

Sangha Notes • New Members • Resident Report

Hoshi Ceremony for Shinko Kwong

Hoshi Ceremony for Shinko Kwong

Dharma Treasure Ceremony for Janet Buckendhal

Group photo following Dharma Treasure Ceremony for Janet Buckendhal

Mandala Bazarre and Raffle (upcoming event)
Advisory Board Meeting Notes • Mandala Project Update
Calendar (July - October ‘11) • Zen Dust Store
Volunteers Needed • Wish List • Gratitudes

Wisteria by Fred Jacobs

Please subscribe to receive the current volume by donating below.

TO SUBSCRIBE - Donate a minimum of $25. Once you have made your donation please email us your receipt and include your newsletter format preference (print or electronic), and your contact information.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sonoma Mandala Bazaar

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

September 3, 2011

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center hosts its Second Annual Sonoma Mandala Bazaar on the Mountain on Saturday, September 3, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in support of its Sonoma Mandala Project. Admission is free!

A day on the Mountain! Local vendors and artists will offer comtemporary pottery, paintings, photographs and textile art; delicious homemade baked goods, cookies and pies, with refreshing drinks and lunch available under the oaks.

Enjoy special performances and demonstrations of taiko drumming, traditional Japanese tea ceremony, shakuhachi flute, Kyudo "the way of the bow" zen archery, tai chi sword and aikido.

Unique and diverse local artisans and craftspeople will present a broad selection of treasures to take home, including:
  • Carvings from renowned Buddhist woodcarvers
    Takayuki and Akemi Zoshi
  • Original one-of-a-kind clothing from Yasuko Healdsburg
  • Dazzling sculptures from Santa Rosa’s Hiroshi Fuchigami
  • Dynamic mixed media arts from local artist
    Susan Heeringa-Pieper
  • One-of-a-kind basket-weaving and stone and bamboo vases
    by Harry and Shizu Okino
  • Original sumi-e paintings from Japanese-trained
    Sebastopol artist Michael Hofmann
  • And MANY more!

Akemi Zoshi performs with Ten Ten Taiko at
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center First Annual Mandala Bazaar.

The highlight of the Bazaar will be a raffle featuring many prizes, including the grand prize - a framed original calligraphy by SMZC’s abbot, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, author of No Beginning, No End. Tickets at $4.00 each can be purchased online at, from Zen Center members, or by calling 545-8105.

The event is a benefit for Sonoma Mountain Zen Center's Mandala Project.

Jakusho Kwong-roshi, abbot of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, has long envisioned creating a Mandala of buildings on Sonoma Mountain to continue Shunryu Suzuki-roshi’s lineage and support authentic practice, dedicated to the protection and awakening of all beings, for the next three hundred years.

Click here for more details at

Some photos from the 2010 event.





•   Mountain Wind: Mandala Project Video
•   Mountain Wind: Mandala Bazaar 2011 | slideshow


Friday, April 1, 2011

Resident Update

by David Price

The generous spirit of the “Wisteria Wind Sangha” is once again energizing and rearranging the resident line up on Sonoma Mountain. There are many comings and goings among the increasingly intertwining branches of our larger community. Revitalized, we vow to care for the land of this Temple and ensure that it will be passed on for many generations to come.

Three “Kannon” Sangha members are returning to Poland this spring: Wojciech “Jacob” Jankowski will be leaving on the 7th of March and will be unable to come back soon. He has made a vow to help in any way he can to get the Polish Sangha’s new Zendo and Center under way---Banzai! Jacek Sikora has practiced here for six months as our Shika (guest person) and Jikido (care of the Zendo). He is going back to Poland on the 21st of March and will try to return in the fall. Jakub “Kuba” Golebiewski spent a year here in 2002 and has been with us on this current visit since October. He will be here working to help jump start the garden until the beginning of April and then will be returning to Poland to be with his fiancé and daughter. We will greatly miss their practice and support of Genjo-ji. It has been a great injection of energy having them here if only for six months. Their continued efforts to benefit and strengthen our greater Sangha are genuinely appreciated --please wish them peace and wellness.

Additions to our residents in March and April are: Sally Scoville, back from India to look over the garden and see that the spring planting goes smoothly. She will be staying from March 3rd until the end of May or longer. Her experience and dedication in the garden are indispensable here on the mountain. Also coming this spring from our Polish Sangha are two more long-time students of Roshi: Piotr Jaholkowski will be here on March 15th and Dorota Majcherowicz, is arriving on April 14. Please help welcome them to Genjo-ji and revel in this flourishing of the “Wisteria Wind.”


Sangha News

by Sid Simpson and Ray Estabrook

The New year at SMZC has gotten off to an exciting start beginning January 8 with our traditional New Year’s One-Day Sitting followed by a visit from the Sonoma Academy January 13 in which 18 students attended an all day Introduction to Zen program led by Shinko. January 15-21 we hosted the Annual Hollow Bones Retreat which is always a pleasure and provides exposures us to a somewhat different spiritual tradition.

The month of February was taken up by our Winter Practice Period known as Ango. The 27-day period included six daily sittings, 108 prostrations, formal oryoki meals, study, chanting and work practice to enhance mindfulness. Our Shuso, or Head Student, for the month was Joe Jogan Richards. His theme was “If we don’t find Nirvana within Samsara there is nowhere we can find Nirvana” taken from Shohaku Okumura’s new book, Realizing Genjokoan. It was a very inspiring experience due in large part to Joe’s insightful, quiet and gentle guidance.

Winter Ango participants after Ango sesshin – Feb. 20, 2011

Included within Ango was a seven-day sesshin of intensive sitting involving 10 periods of zazen a day and interviews, or dokusan, with Kwong-roshi. It all concluded on Saturday, February 26 with the traditional mondo, or Revealing the Self Ceremony. in which the participants had the opportunity to ask dharma questions of Shuso Joe designed to reveal the truth of practice.
One of the “extras” that emerged from this year’s Winter Ango was a series of meetings in which Roshi met with his disciples and senior students to discuss and prepare the groundwork for the continuance of Zen practice in all three of our Sanghas - not just on Sonoma Mountain but in Poland and Iceland as well - assuring the perpetuation of the “Everyday Zen” taught by Kwong-roshi and his teacher Suzuki-roshi.

On March 4-5, we had an overnight visit by 18 students of Professor John Nelson from the University of San Francisco who participated in our Saturday program. That turned out to be a very busy weekend as we also hosted an all day Introduction to Zen Workshop led by Nyoze Kwong. It provided an introduction to Zen teachings, forms, ritual, instruction on zazen and basic Zen concepts as a foundation for Zen practice.
On the heels of that came the Spring Study Group for six weeks commencing March 8. Kwong-roshi and Shinko headed the Tuesday evening discussions of Suzuki-roshi’s Branching Streams Flow In The Darkness.

Another One-day Sitting, focusing on “Actualizing Now-Moment,” occurred on Saturday, March 12, followed by our Annual Spring Workfest on March 26. If you have never participated, your missing out on a wonderful experience as Sangha members, families and friends come together in a traditional “Barn-Raising” effort which provides, not only a wonderful opportunity to put your Zen in gear but, lots of fun together with lots of good food and snacks!

We recently began a series of monthly discussion groups. On March 10th Mark “Seiyu” Adams led us in a spirited session of sharing about our practice and how we came to Zen. We brainstormed ideas for future meetings, including oryoki, form in the zendo, maintaining your practice at home and in your daily life, and sharing videos and information about our Zen history and practice. We hope to make these meetings responsive to the needs and interests of the participants as we encourage each other to continue and deepen our practice. These meetings are not dharma talks or study groups; they are more an opportunity to engage in discussion and ask questions of each other. The next two meetings are scheduled for April 14th and May 12th.
Please join us!

Still to come at this writing, Buddha’s Birthday Sesshin, April 6-9, culminating with our big Buddha’s Birthday Celebration on Sunday, April 10, from 1-4 p.m. The ceremony takes place from 1-1:45 p.m., and will be followed by an Outdoor Reception from 2-4 p.m. You will want to bring prepared food ready to serve and flowers for offering.

April 15-17 we will again be hosting the Shambhala Drala weekend which will bring us to Saturday, April 23 and our Sangha Day Potluck. There will be a short period of zazen followed by an opportunity for not only new members but everyone to renew their vows and to offer incense in the zendo. We hope everyone will be able to join us for the Sangha meeting and potluck. This will be an important meeting. At the last meeting, we discussed some of the impact that roshi’s decreased presence has had on the Zen Center. There have been several very positive moves that the Zen Center has made to support the dharma on the mountain since then. We will report on some of those, such as the Wisteria Wind meeting, the developing mentor program, and the monthly discussion group. The question we want to work with at the meeting is, “What can we at SMZC do to more fully support you in your practice?” Please come and engage in the ongoing dialogue with your sangha and share your thoughts and suggestions.


Winter Ango

Group photo following the Dharma Encounter at the close of Winter Ango – Feb. 26, 2011

Winter Ango Theme

Shuso Joe “Jogan” “Pure Vow” Richards

“If we don’t find Nirvana within Samsara
there is nowhere we can find Nirvana”

"Personally, I didn’t have any idea that this would involve engaging and receiving the presence of each and every person so intimately. For 20 years I have faced the wall with others; to now be facing them and seeing their dedication and commitment is only heart-breaking. I would have each and every one of us open the mind flower together-in just one sitting! Then, we could place this sacred bouquet upon the altar itself: fresh living flowers gently swaying in the wisteria wind for every person to enjoy when entering this place of training at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center."
~ Shuso Joe “Jogan” Richards


excerpt, Winter Ango Shuso Interview: Joe “Jogan” Richards

Mountain Wind News

by Chris Katsuzen King, Editor

The newsletter staff wishes to thank those who returned completed surveys which were sent out in January. The majority of those who responded have chosen to receive the newsletter online. Some preferred the hard copy version while a few preferred to receive the newsletter via internet and hard copy. We were extremely heartened to receive very positive feedback on the newsletter and response to the new format.

After considering the survey results and our membership offerings, we have decided to send the current newsletter only to sangha members, Zen Centers and to special friends of SMZC. The current issue will only be available to those parties and we will archive past issues of Mountain Wind on the SMZC website.

Thank you for your patience during this time of transition. If there have been problems in receiving your newsletter or you wish to receive it in a different format, please contact us by phone at 707-545-8105 or email at