Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mandala Project Groundbreaking | Inner Game Benefit

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center invites you to a Community
Celebration Featuring A Reception, Live Music and Evening Benefit

Sunday, September 16, 10 a.m. - noon

• Groundbreaking ceremony officiated by SMZC’s Abbot Jakusho Kwong-roshi 
• Kyudo - the Way of the Bow ceremonial shooting by Zen Kyudo Group 
• Reception, drinks, tasty treats and music under the oaks from 10:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. 
• Music by Indian classical singer Sukhawat Ali Khan.

Evening Benefit
Finding the Greatness Within
Santa Rosa Junior College, Haehl Pavilion
September 16, 5:00 p.m.
NBA Legends Phil Jackson and Chris Mullin will be discussing the spiritual nature of sports. Kwong-roshi will discuss his relationship with Phil Jackson and Zen in everyday life. Proceeds to benefit the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

Sponsors: The Inner Game, Santa Rosa Junior College, Clover Stornetta Farms, T and B Sports

Dear Sangha Members,

Kwong-roshi wishes to encourage your full participation in the creation of a wooden treasure to benefit all beings.

He offers the following words:

The Zendo is the living Structure & the Womb where all Buddha's & Bodhisattvas come from - THIS is where they are born.Please come and join us.

So any or all of us can help in the following ways:

1) Attend one or both events with your family and friends.  Your presence creates energy!  Buy tickets to the Finding Greatness Within event at innergame.us

2) Volunteer to help us prepare.  Any time next week, or we are having a special set-up work period following lunch on Saturday the 15th from 1-4 pm.
We will need some help on Sunday morning the day of the event for final preparation and dishwashing.

3) Promote the event and especially the dialogue at SRJC at 5 pm Sunday evening.  Post flyers, "Like" the event on Facebook, reroute this email to anyone who would be interested.

4) Send your good feeling and wishes that this project establish the dharma on Sonoma Mountain for another 300 years.

Groundbreaking info (707) 545-8105 or email: smzc@smzc.net

Learn more about the Mandala Project

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. "

oak branchesRoshi has long envisioned creating a Mandala of buildings on Sonoma Mountain 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... (more)

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Friday, July 20, 2012

Annual Mandala Bazaar - September 1, 2012


Sonoma County Taiko at Sonoma Mandala Bazaar 2011

On Saturday, September 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, 6367 Sonoma Mountain Road, Santa Rosa, will host its Third Annual Mandala Bazaar on the Mountain in support of its project to construct a new meditation hall. Admission is free.

The event, which in the past has drawn enthusiastic crowds, features a diverse group of regional artisans and craftspeople offering woodwork and sculptures, Japanese style kimonos, mixed media and fiber art, ceramics, handmade jewelry, ethnic artifacts, bamboo flower vases, and more.

Performing during the day will be the Sonoma County Taiko drummers (11:00 - 11:30, 1:30 - 2:30); Soei Mouri Sensei leading a classic Zen Tea Ceremony (11:30 - 12:20, 1:30 - 2:30, 3:00 - 4:00); Elliot Kallen playing unique music for shakuhachi flute, Naoko on shamisen and koto strings (all day); Aikido demonstrators Kuma Kai of Sebastopol (12:00 -- 12:45) and New School Aikido of Santa Rosa (2:45 - 3:30); and Zen Kyudo archers enacting "The Way of the Bow" (11:30 - 12:00, 3:3pdf0 - 4:00).

Calligraphy by Kwong-roshi
 (2010 Mandala Bazaar)
Highlighting the Bazaar will be a treasure-filled raffle featuring a framed original calligraphy by SMZC's renowned Abbot, Jakusho Kwong-roshi, as well as visits to the Cottage Inn & Spa, Osmosis Spa, Hana Japanese Restaurant, The Links at Bodega Harbor, Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, Quarry Hill Botanical Garden, and more. Tickets at $5 each can be obtained online at www.smzc.net, by email at MandalaRaffle@smzc.net, from individual Zen Center members, or by calling (707) 545-8105. (Drawing for secondary prizes at 12:45 - 1:00; for Grand Prize at 4:00)

This third Mandala Bazaar offers an opportunity to see a variety of live performances, attend a Japanese tea ceremony performed by a master, view a wide variety of selected arts and crafts, and socialize among friends and family under the oaks on beautiful Sonoma Mountain. Sumptuous bento box lunches, assortments of delicious sweets, baked goods and refreshing drinks will also be offered for sale for visitors' enjoyment.

If you're interested in art, Zen or a unique experience, SMZC's annual bazaar has something special for you!
visit the Mandala Bazaar online

Elliot Kallen

The Zen Center will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of its new Meditation Hall on Sunday September 16 at 10 a.m. Inspired by both American and Japanese influences, this hall will provide a superbly designed space to continue authentic Soto Zen practice in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi for many years to come.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, founded in 1973 by Jakusho Kwongroshi and Shinko Kwong, is esteemed for its natural tranquility, in which people from all backgrounds can realize their basic goodness through Zen Buddhist practice. The Zen Center has members from throughout the United States and Canada, and from affiliate centers in Poland and Iceland.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center
6367 Sonoma Mountain Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA, 95404

Press contact: SMZC office (707) 545-8105

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Moment to Moment" 1-Day Sitting

Please take advantage of the 1-day sitting we are having on July 7.

It is another great chance to sit down and drop off body and mind in the simplest of practices.

We look forward to seeing all of you.

Journey to Japan: Descending the Mountain - Part III

Nyoze Kwong will present a slide show of his 6 month training at Daihonzan Eiheiji located in Fukui, Japan. Part II Nyoze will share intimate stories and his experience of daily life at Eiheiji and
more.... This is the 3rd talk of a series.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Parinirvana on April 4, 2012 at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Parinirvana on April 4, 2012 at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center on Vimeo

This video was created to highlight the celebration of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Parinivana on Sonoma Mountain. Two Sanghas came together, Shambhala and Sonoma Mountain Zen Center, to honor his life and his death. The ceremony took place on April 4, 2012 next to the stupa that contains his relics. Created by sangha member Tim Metzger.

Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Vimeo | Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Journey to Japan: A Day In The Life of Eiheiji - Part II

Nyoze Kwong will present a slide show of his 6 month training at
Daihonzan Eiheiji located in Fukui, Japan. Part II Nyoze will share
intimate stories and his experience of daily life at Eiheiji and
more.... This is the 2nd talk of a series.

Part 1 was given last Saturday and was a big hit! Please show your
appreciation for Nyoze's great effort by joining us June 9th at 10:30 in
the Zendo.

email: smzc@smzc.netSonoma Mountain Zen Center

Friday, May 25, 2012

No Beginning No End Sesshin

Members and friends,

We will be having a 3-day sesshin starting 7:30 pm May 31. This will be the last opportunity to sit with Kwong-roshi before he leaves for his summer trip to Europe.

Please avail yourselves of this chance to practice sanity WITH OTHERS in a crazy world.

You can register through email or by calling the office.

email: smzc@smzc.net • 707.545.8105 • Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Journey to Japan: Way of Eiheiji

Nyoze is back from Japan with many stories and experiences to share. Please join us on Saturday May 26th at 10:30 am in the zendo for a slideshow presentation.
We'll have buffet lunch afterwards.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sangha Day Potluck


Please make sure to attend this Saturday. Roshi wants a good event full of energy!

The event is open to everyone so feel free to bring a mate or friend.

We are having a slide show of the Parinirvana event from earlier this month.

Shambhala dignitaries will be speaking about this special relationship between Sonoma Mountain Zen Center and Trungpa's lineage.

We will also hear about stewardship and what it means.

Cam will give a Mandala update as well.

There is some set-up to do so, anyone who can volunteer for the 8:30 samu will be most welcome.

Since this is a potluck, please bring something to share (ready to eat).


Friday, March 23, 2012


Trungpa Rinpoche's Stupa at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Several events will be held in the Northern California region to celebrate Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on the 25th anniversary of his death, including a special invitation from Kwong-roshi of the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center members, families and friends are invited along with the Shambhala community to a commemoration of Chögyam Trungpa on Saturday, April 7th from 10 am to 2 pm to mark the 25th year of his Parinirvana. We’ll gather in the lower parking lot and walk together to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Stupa, where we will recite the Sadhana of Mahamudra, followed by some words from Kwong-roshi, Joanne Martin Braun, and Shastris Alan Schwartz, Charlene Leung and Melissa Moore. Please bring appropriate attire (hats, layers) and chairs or blankets. Shambhala members will provide the potluck lunch and the Zen Center will provide drinks. This is a special event in which both of our communities will join together in paying respects to a renowned Buddhist teacher while celebrating the long-standing connections between our two Sanghas. Please join us for this event!

email: smzc@smzc.netSonoma Mountain Zen Center

Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, by Bill Scheffel

This 10-minute documentary features 2009 interviews with Jakusho Kwong-roshi, dharma heir of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and founder of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. In this film, Roshi talks primarily about his close relationship with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This film includes a tour of the stupa Kwong-roshi erected in memory of Chogyam Trungpa.

Dragons and elephants,

Please come at 8:30 on the day of the Parinirvana Commemoration (Saturday, April 7) as we can use your help preparing for the large expected turnout. We need help with parking and set-up. Contact Gyda at parinirvana@smzc.net if you can make it at that time.

Deep Gassho,
Mike Jundo
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Friday, March 16, 2012

Birth of Buddha Sesshin & Ceremony

SUNDAY APRIL 16 at 1pm

Families, friends and children will gather in the zendo to commemorate the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha in a Flower Festival and the traditional pouring of sweet rain over the baby Buddha. Following this ceremony will be an outdoor reception. Everyone is asked to bring flowers to offer in the zendo, and to bring finger-type hors d'oeuvres, ready-to-serve on platters for the reception.

Great Assembly,

Come and acknowledge the birth of your own limitless life moment after moment as we sit sesshin Wednesday April 4th - Saturday April 7th.

The Birth of Buddha Sesshin this year will be followed immediately by the commemoration of the passing of another Great Buddha, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Feel free to call the office or sign-up on the Sangha House porch for the volunteer positions during Sunday's ceremony on April 8th if you can help that day. Folks staying overnight after sesshin to attend the ceremony will be accommodated free of charge.

Mike Jundo

A silent retreat to commemorate the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha. Sesshin, literally "to touch the Mind" is a period of time set aside for an intensive meditation retreat to let go of the conditioned self in order to resume our original nature. Begins Wednesday, 7:30 pm, and ends Saturday, 3:30 pm. 10 periods of zazen daily, 2 hours work practice, 3 oryoki meals, dharma talks, and interviews with Kwong-roshi.
Non-Members: $60 per day/overnight General M: $50 Practicing M: $40

10 am - 12 pm
Kwong Roshi has invited the Shambhala community as well as SMZC's membership to participate in this tribute to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. We will have a procession from the Zendo to Trungpa's stupa followed by Sadhana of Mahamudra and remarks by Roshi and Shambhala. Pot-luck lunch will be graciously provided by Shambhala.

1 - 4 pm
This is a day for the entire family to join us in commemorating the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha with a flower festival and a traditional ceremony of pouring sweet tea over the baby Buddha. All Sangha, friends, and family are invited to come and join us. Ceremony: 1 - 1:45 pm. Zendo Outdoor reception: 2 - 4 pm. Bring prepared food ready to serve and flowers for offering.

email: smzc@smzc.netSonoma Mountain Zen Center

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Workfest 2012

This spring we have a special opportunity to prepare the ground for the 25th Annual Commemoration of Chogyam Trungpa Ripoche's passing, called parinirvana.

Our connection with his lineage is unique and precious and this will be a wonderful time to join with our dharma brothers and sisters from Shambhala in honoring this great teacher.
The procession and ceremony will be April 7th at 10 am.

Workfest will be focused on restoring some the peace and calm around the Stupa area which has been disturbed by the devastating Oak Death syndrome over the years.

Kwong-roshi and the Zen Center hope you will come for the whole day if you can, or part of it if you can only do that.

You can sign-up by email or on the Sangha house porch.

Gassho and See You There!
Mike Farrand

email: smzc@smzc.netSonoma Mountain Zen Center

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dharma Talk - Shinko Kwong on the Genjo Koan

Shinko Kwong reads to us from the Genjo Koan and shares her insight into these profound writings of Dogen Zenji (1200-1253).

“To study Buddism is to study yourself. To study yourself is to forget yourself in each moment. Then everything will come and help you. Everything will assure your enlightenment.”

Jakusho Kwong-roshi's Channel on Vimeo
Jakusho 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."

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Dharma Talk - Kwong-roshi, Jan 7 2012

This is Roshi's first Dharma talk of 2012. In this new year of the Dragon he invites us to take a backward step by turning our light inward in order to reveal our true self, our true nature, and our basic goodness. This suchness will help dissolve greed, anger and ignorance. He also, talks about how not to waste our precious time worrying about the past or future and being overly busy, but instead to manifest our profound selves in this very moment without delay.

“To study Buddism is to study yourself. To study yourself is to forget yourself in each moment. Then everything will come and help you. Everything will assure your enlightenment.”

Jakusho Kwong-roshi on Vimeo
Jakusho 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."

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mountain Wind - First Quarter, 2012

The Awakened Mind Ground
The first half of a Dharma talk given by Jakusho Kwong-roshi during Summer Ango Sesshin on May 14, 2011 at the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

...I remember Katagiri-roshi wrote on the back of my rakusu one year, “Enlightenment has no beginning and no end.” Of course it’s also true that delusions have no beginning and no end, if you don’t restore your true self...

Please see the PDF for the entire article

Sangha News
by Sid Simpson

We had our most recent Sangha meeting on Saturday, October 22, and it was well attended. In addition to introducing new members, we had the perfect weather to finally make our tour of the stupas of Suzuki-roshi and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Roshi lead us on a walk from the zendo and talked about how the memorials came to be and a bit of their history. If you have not visited the two stupas, please take the opportunity to do so. They are no more than a 10 to 15 minute walk from the zendo. Any of the residents and most of the sangha members can give you directions.

Suzuki-roshi’s stupa includes the magnificent standing stone which was brought here from Tassajara Creek and placed with loving care. Near the stupa is a stone basin which holds water for offerings. The moss around the stupa stone has been carefully tended over the years, and the small storage area was crafted by resident Mike Farrand. The pattern of construction is based on the rakusu pattern, which in turn is based on the pattern of rice fields.

We are fortunate to have a stupa for Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and several mementos of his life and practice. The hand-crafted structure is a wonder of its own. The Shambhala Center practitioners who do retreats with us will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of Chogyam Trungpa’s parinirvana at the stupa here at SMZC, probably the week after Buddha’s birthday in April. It is Roshi’s hope that SMZC students will join the Shambhala students for the celebration.

The Rohatsu sesshin this year ended on December 10th with a memorial procession for the anniversary of the death of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi to Suzuki-roshi’s stupa. It is always a moving ceremony, held as the dawn breaks. This year we had the added experience of watching the eclipse of the full moon from in front of the zendo as we prepared for the procession.

The sangha is one of the three jewels, and our practice together is important. Here are a few items to add to your calendar for the new year. On January 21, we will have our first one-day sitting to begin the new year. On January 30, Winter Ango begins, culminating in the Shuso Dharma Encounter on February 25. Our Spring Workfest is scheduled for March 24, and our next Sangha Potluck and Meeting will be on April 28. Our Buddha’s Birthday Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, April 8, and will provide a wonderful opportunity for you to bring family, friends, and loved ones up to the mountain for a festive celebration.

Please join us for these special events, and come as often as you can for programs and ceremonies. You are welcome to come during the week, as well!


I am an unquenchable fire,
The center of all energy,
The stout heroic heart.
I am truth and light,
I hold power and glory in my sway.
My presence disperses dark clouds.
I have been chosen
To tame the Fates.


Nyoze (on right) with Taku-ji (left) and Gyoukou at Ryokan (bathhouse)
on their way to Jizo-in (Eihei-ji Entrance) on October 7.
(See Letter from Nyoze on page 8)

End of Summer Ango 2011

Resident Update | Letter from Nyoze
New Members | Volunteering | Mandala Progress And News
Roshi’s Zen Channel on Vimeo
Drinking Grandmother’s Tea by by June Myoko Davis
SMZC Advisory Board Notes … & more

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