Monday, November 16, 2015

"Tea of Quiet Taste" Tea Workshop - Saturday, December 12. No Experience Needed!

Please join us for an afternoon of Tea Ceremony taught by Eiko Mouri-sensei, a leading tea instructor.

 Saturday, December 12, 1-4 p.m.

Contact the SMZC office for more details or to sign-up.

(707) 545-8105

Monday, November 2, 2015

November Events at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

This Holiday season will be full of great events and retreats at SMZC.  During this often chaotic season, we could all use some time for stillness.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All starts with each of us.


Nov. 7 - Being Time 1-Day Sitting
Nov. 13-14 - Guest Speaker: Barbara Rhodes
Nov. 26 - Thanksgiving Potluck
Dec. 1-5 - Rohatsu Sesshin

Please see below for more information and join us.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Zuise Pilgrimage: Tracing Our Roots

This June, Nyoze Kwong traveled to Japan to complete the final phase of his Dharma Transmission Ceremony.  Accompanying Nyoze on this two-week trip were Kwong-roshi, Kashin, and Ejo as well as our three teachers from the international sanghas: Uji Mikolaj Markiewicz representing the Kannon Sangha in Poland and Kimyo Helga Joachimsdottir along with Zenki Astvauldur Traustasson from the Natthagi Zen Center in Iceland. The primary focus of the trip was for Nyoze to complete his Zuise Transmission Ceremony which consisted of serving as abbot for one day and one night at both of the two main Soto Zen Headquarter Training Temples – Eihei-ji and Soji-ji. The trip turned out to include much more than visits to these temples however. Exploring the roots of our practice lineage, they were also able to visit Suzuki-roshi's home temple, Rinso-in, in Yaizu, and trace Suzuki-roshi's childhood footsteps at Zoun-in, Kaisuisai, training monastery and also at the great Ian Kishizawa’s temple, Gyokuden-in. During the trip they were fortunate to meet with the renowned teacher Shundo Aoyama-roshi of Aichi Senmon Nisodo - the most well-known, advanced training nunnery in Japan.

We offer our congratulations to Nyoze for making this historic journey which enabled him to complete  his Zuise Ceremony, accrediting his training at Eihei-ji and deepening his connection with our lineage. In the upcoming, January issue of Mountain Wind we will feature more details of his ceremony and the group's many experiences during their time in Japan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Gyda Myoji Tryggvadottir (left) - Shuso (head student) of the Summer Ango,
pictured with Mikolaj Uji  following his Hossenshiki Ceremony 

by Ray Eko Estabrook

This summer’s intensive month-long Ango practice period was led by Shuso Gyda “Gekko Myoji” Tryggvadottir of the Natthagi (“Night Pasture”) Sangha in Iceland. Her theme of mujo gently wafted over us like a cool summer breeze inspiring us day by day.

In addition, this Ango period was marked by a number of special ceremonies and events including the ordination of Gekko Myoji Tryggvadottir along with that of Ray Kikai Eko Estabrook and Mike Jundo Farrand. There was also a Hossenshiki Ceremony for Mikolaj Uji Markiewicz of the Kannon Zen Center in Poland.  

The strength and vitality that permeated Ango manifested, not only in six daily sittings, study and work practice but, in more than 27 hours of meetings of the Wisteria Wind Council, which included our affiliate Sanghas in both Iceland and Poland. Our thanks to Nyoze and Tensan Chuck Ramey for their tireless efforts in leading those extensive meetings which moved us significantly toward fulfilling Roshi’s vision of having the Wisteria Wind officially recognized and sanctioned by Sotoshu: an important step in our efforts to define and maintain our Zen roots and traditions here in America.

As we strive to more fully understand and appreciate the sacred treasure which we have here at Genjo-ji, we have been honored to have been visited by a number of Zen visitors who have revealed the rich tradition which we have inherited.

Juuko Nakano-roshi recently visited Genjo-ji

It was both humbling and encouraging to learn from Rev. Yuji Ito of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco that there are over a dozen Zen Teachers who would like to visit us at SMZC. We also wish to acknowledge a visit from internationally known Zen Teacher Juuko Nakano-roshi from Fukushima, Japan, who first came to Genjo-ji in 2010 to visit and lecture. When he returned to San Francisco recently, he insisted upon coming directly to Genjo-ji from SFO.

Still another example of the high regard in which Genjo-ji has come to be held was the honor of hosting the Sotoshu Temple Stay Kids Program during Ango.  Five children of Sotoshu temple priests in Japan joined us for a week of zazen, oryoki, work practice, hikes and the unique opportunity to experience Zen in America. Also visiting with us, and the youngsters as well, was the Rev. Hakujin Kuryonagi who is the head teacher of Eiheiji’s International Department.

As Roshi has noted, it is profoundly important that we preserve the roots of our tradition here in America. The Zuisse Ceremony, which Noyze participated in, involves returning our deepest gratitude to our Ancestors for their True Dharma and Compassion which we have inherited from them. We should know how it comes to us.

While Ango has come and gone, the energy and enthusiasm flows on highlighted by our Annual Bazaar; a presentation of the Japanese tea ceremony by Mouri-sensei and Julie Kashin Kwong in the Omotesenke tradition; and a visit by guest lecturer Tim Zentetsu Burkett Guiding Teacher of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and author of Nothing Holy About It: The Zen of Being Just Who You Are.

Coming up: Our Fall Study Group will run from 7:30-9:00 p.m. for five weeks commencing October 13th as we resume our study of  The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo led by Shinko and some of our senior students. 

In conclusion we'd like to extend our compassion to all those who have been affected by the recent Valley Fire in Lake County. The fire is now completely contained and we are very thankful that John Kaian Jennings and his wife, Lia's home was spared from damage from the fire. They feel especially fortunate since the fire started close to them on Cobb Mountain and many of their neighbor's homes  were destroyed.

Subscribe to Mountain Wind to receive all the latest!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mandala Bazaar – September 12!


Whether you are interested in art, Zen or a unique experience, SMZC's annual bazaar has something for you! We hope to see you there!

Admission is free!

releasing doves at 2014 Sonoma Mountain Zen Center Bazaar
If you and your family are looking for different kind of summer activity come join us for the 6th Annual Bazaar! The Sonoma Mountain Zen Center will host this year’s Bazaar on Saturday, September 12th from 11 am to 4 pm. This event is a great way to experience the lively spirit of the Zen Center while offering your financial support to the Zen Center’s General Fund.

Sonoma County Taiko at the 2014 Bazaar
Sonoma County Taiko at the 2014 Bazaar

As in previous years there will be a diverse group of artisans and craftspeople offering many beautiful and unique treasures for your viewing pleasure and for you to take home. There will be activities and demonstrations for all ages. Children can enjoy making art, getting their faces painted and eating snow cones. Throughout the day live demonstrations including formal tea ceremony, traditional Chinese dancing and kendo (Japanese swordsmanship) will be performed. Musicians will demonstrate the Taiko drum, Shakuhachi (flute) and Koto (stringed instrument). To top this all off sit under the shade of the redwood trees and enjoy a delicious bento box treat, homemade baked goods and SMZC jam.
Activities for kids to be announced!
Fine arts & crafts at the 2014 Bazaar
Fine arts & crafts at the 2014 Bazaar

Door prizes and raffle prizes will be given out throughout the day, so purchase your raffle tickets, tell your friends and support the Zen Center. The more you purchase the more chances you will have to win one of two Grand Prizes. Raffle tickets ($5 each) can be purchased by; calling the Zen Center office at 707-545-8105 between 9:30 am – 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Mon. – Fri., mailing a check to the Zen Center with a note containing your name, phone number, email address and ticket quantity or by dropping by the office. You need not be present to win. Watch for raffle information to be posted soon!

You can help support the Zen Center by volunteering for one of the many aspects of the Bazaar. Interested….. then please contact Mike Farrand in the Zen Center office.

You can also help by spreading the word and by posting the Bazaar flyer at your favorite coffee shop.

Looking forward to seeing you and your family at the Bazaar!

2015 Annual SMZC Bazaar – Sat. Sept 12th – Help Spread the Word!!

This September 12th, Sonoma Mountain Zen Center will once again host a wonderful event.  Anyone who attended last year would surely agree, it was the best one yet!

Our aim is to make the SMZC Bazaar a veritable North Bay happening. You can help!

Please click on the links below and print the pdf flyers that pop up.
Post them, hand them out, spread the word!

Deep Bow of Thanks from
The Sangha of Sonoma Mountain Genjo-ji

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Polish Sangha Slideshow Wed, Aug 5th, 7:30pm

Greetings from the Zen Center in the Kąciki of Poland)) End of Ango - 07/19/2015. Hurrah!

Dear SMZC Sangha, 

We would like to invite you to a slideshow on the Polish Kannon Sangha
on Wednesday, August 5th 7.30 pm.
As the 30th anniversary of Kannon Sangha is arriving we would like to share with you some impressions of Zen in Poland. You will see how Suzuki's Roshi teaching arrived to Poland and developed in Kwong-roshi Polish Kannon Sangha.

Yours in the Dharma,
Mikolaj Uji
Kannon Zen Sangha

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Icelandic Hoshis present a Slideshow on Their Sangha

This Saturday, July 25th, Kimyo and Zenki will share a slideshow presentation on practice in the Natthagi Icelandic Sangha.

Helga Kimyo Joakimsdottir and Valdi Zenki Traustasson have studied with Kwong-roshi for decades.  They have come to join the Wisteria Wind for Summer Practice Period in August.  Kimyo is the founding member of Natthagi Sangha and works as a bodywork teacher who specializes in Alexander Technique.  Zenki is a musician and instructor.  He lives with his wife Gyda Myoji, who will join us as Shuso of the Practice Period.

We will meet at 10:30 in the Sangha House for this unexpected treat.
Everyone is invited.  Please just drop-in.
$10 suggested donation.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Practice Period 2015 - July 27 to August 22

Dear SMZC Sangha,

We are having a very full Summer Practice Period this year with a Hossenshiki Ceremony for Mikolaj Uji from the Polish Sangha and Shukke Tokudo Ordination for several long time students.

Ango begins on Monday, July 27th at 7:30pm with the Shuso opening talk. Please check the online calendar for full schedule. Please sure to fill a commitment form and return to the SMZC office.

Also don't forget about the exciting Zuise Pilgrimage Slideshow this Saturday at 10:30!
It will cover some of the background and significance of the ceremonies coming up in August.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Check our online calendar anytime to keep up to date!

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center:  •  email:

Monday, July 13, 2015

SOTO ZEN Pilgrimage & Ceremony Slideshow – Please come to hear about the auspicious pilgrimage to Japan which Roshi and Nyoze and family embarked on in June

Dear SMZC Sangha,

Please come to hear about the auspicious pilgrimage to Japan which Roshi and Nyoze and family embarked on in June.

We will have a slideshow at 10:30 followed by buffet lunch at noon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Beginners Minds: Two great programs for those new to the practice

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few.
-Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

We want to let everyone know about a couple programs geared towards beginners or anyone wishing to deepen their practice and understanding of it.

Next Saturday on June 20th, we will have an Introduction to Zen Workshop led by Chris Katuszen.

Next month on July 11th, we are offering a 1-Day Sitting which gives a taste of sesshin for people looking to dive in to the heart of Zen practice.

Check our online calendar anytime to keep up to date

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Upcoming Events & Workshops: Community Sewing Retreat, Introduction to Zen and more...

Upcoming programs:

Sat. May 30 –  Kids Saturday Community

June 2-7 –  Community Sewing Retreat
 – Bring this ancient tradition to life by joining in the sewing practice this June. We strongly encourage everyone find time to drop in and add some stitches to the Buddha's Robe.

Sat. June 20 –  Introduction to Zen Workshop

Check our online calendar anytime to keep up to date

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

What's on Offer at SMZC this Spring?  Plenty! – Buddha's Birthday Sesshin & Ceremony | Sangha Day & Tea Workshop

Spring has sprung!
Come and renew your practice with the SMZC Sangha.

Don't miss our Annual Buddha's Birthday Sesshin and Celebration on April 12th. Later in April we will have a Sangha Potluck followed by a Tea Workshop as well as a Saturday Kids Community; all on the 25th. There will be a One-Day Sitting on May 9th, as well.  Check our online calendar anytime to keep up to date.

For registration please contact SMZC via phone or email –
707.545.8105  •  email:

Check our online calendar anytime to keep up to date

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring Workfest is happening this Saturday, March 28

Dear SMZC Sangha,

A reminder that Spring Workfest is happening this Saturday from 8:30am until 4pm.

Please join us in the spirit of together action.  You can call or email to let us know you can participate.

Look forward to seeing you all there.

Mike Jundo Farrand
Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 20 & 21: GUEST SPEAKER Susan Moon - Two Talks

This Friday evening, and Saturday morning at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center –
Mar. 20-21 GUEST SPEAKER Susan Moon - Two Talks -- Friday 7:30pm - Saturday 11am. Zendo (begin with meditation at 10:30).

Join us for a special presentation by Buddhist writer and teacher, Susan Moon. Susan is the author of The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women, as well as the editor of “Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism.” Moon was also the editor of “Turning Wheel,” a journal on socially engaged Buddhism. Susan has been a Zen student since 1976, practicing in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi at Berkeley Zen Center, Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and now with Zoketsu Norman Fischer’s Everyday Zen sangha. She received “entrustment” as a lay teacher in 2005. $10 donation appreciated.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SMZC in March - Many Ways to Join In the Practice

March 10 Tues. -
1st Spring Study Group

March 14 Sat. -
"Just This Moment"
1-Day Sitting

March 20-21 Fri. and Sat.-
SMZC Guest Lecture Series: Susan Moon

March 21 Sat. -
Introduction to Zen Workshop

March 28 Sat. -
Spring Workfest

Mar. 10-Apr 28   SPRING STUDY GROUP  Every Tuesday, 7:30 - 9 pm.
Investigating and "turning our radiance inward" through Zen practice, we begin to discover the intimate nature of Mind.  Shinko Kwong with senior students will be lecturing and leading discussions on Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo by Shohaku Okumura. This will be a six-week course.
Non-Members:  $65/$12 per class    General M: $60  Practicing M: $55

Mar. 14 Sat.  "JUST THIS MOMENT" ONE DAY SITTING 5:15 am to 5 pm An opportunity for beginners as well as experienced sitters to plunge into the heart of Zen practice.  8 periods of meditation, formal meals, chanting and work practice.  Includes Friday 6 pm dinner and overnight stay.
Non-Members: $65 General M: $55   Practicing M: $45

Mar. 20-21   GUEST SPEAKER  Susan Moon  Friday 7:30pm - Saturday 11 a.m.  Zendo.
Join us for a special presentation by Buddhist writer and teacher, Susan Moon. Susan is the author of The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women, as well as the editor of “Not Turning Away: The Practice of Engaged Buddhism.” Moon was also the editor of “Turning Wheel,” a journal on socially engaged Buddhism. Susan has been a Zen student since 1976, practicing in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi at Berkeley Zen Center, Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and now with Zoketsu Norman Fischer’s Everyday Zen sangha. She received “entrustment” as a lay teacher in 2005.

An introduction to Zen teachings, Zendo form, rituals, instruction on zazen, and also main concepts as basic foundation for Zen practice.  For beginners and intermediate people who would like to gain more insight into the philosophy of Zen and how to actualize those principles in everyday life.  Includes vegetarian lunch.  $55.  Instructor: TBA

Mar. 28 Sat.  SPRING WORKFEST  8:30am – 4pm
All Sangha members, families, and friends are invited to come for a day of fun and work in the spirit of traditional "barn-raising" effort and together action.  Snacks and delicious lunch provided.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (  •  email:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Julie Kashin Receives The Geido Position

Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 12 noon

The position of Geido refers to the various traditional Japanese art disciplines - Noh Theatre, Kado (Flower Arrangement), Shodo(Calligraphy), Sado(Tea Ceremony), and Yakimono(Pottery). All of these disciplines carry an ethical and aesthetic connotation. They teach an appreciation of the process of creation. To introduce discipline into their training, Japanese warriors followed the example of the arts that systematized practice through prescribed forms called Kata - imagine the tea ceremony and how structured the form is, so participants can have a glimpse of it’s inherent aesthetics and presence.

As a successor of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, I was deeply influenced by his appreciation of subtle aesthetics and it’s important role in our everyday environment. When I was with Suzuki-roshi he never spoke directly about aesthetics, but he mostly demonstrated his respect for everyday objects by the way he would arrange the various things in his home and at Sokoji temple. He was very aware of his surroundings, and would place a flower arrangement, a calligraphy, or a Mingei teacup very carefully, displaying a sense of color and exquisite composition with a subtle beauty that was also calming. I wasn’t even aware that I was receiving this wonderful teaching about aesthetics, until years later when I noticed that I also developed an awareness and appreciation of arranging things in my environment with this subtleness to this day.

Julie Kashin will be given the title of Geido to hold this lineage of simple, ordinary aesthetics and form at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.

Please come witness and congratulate Kashin in her new position. May ordinary aesthetics continue to flow throughout the grounds at Genjo-Ji.

Nine Bows,

Jakusho Kwong-roshi

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Join us January 30th and 31st as Shohaku Okumura-sensei talks about his new book!

January 30 at 7:30 p.m., and January 31 at 11:00 a.m. *

Shohaku Okumura is the founder and Guiding Teacher of Sanshin Zen Community in Bloomington, Indiana.  After Okumura-roshi studying under Kosho Uchiyama, he traveled to the U.S. where he co-founded Minnesota Zen Center.  He is the author of several books including Living by Vow and Realizing Genjo Koan. $10 donation appreciated. All proceeds go towards Okumura-roshi's travel expenses.

* join us for our Saturday Community sitting on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., or earlier (see below)

SATURDAY COMMUNITY is 5:15 a.m. - 1:30p.m.
This half-day schedule will give you a taste of everyday Zen in silence, stillness and activity. You may also join us for part of the schedule if you wish.
Your first time at the Zen Center, come at 9 a.m. for meditation instruction and join us till noon. $10 minimum suggested donation.
5:15 a.m. meditation
5:50 a.m. walking meditation
6:00 a.m. meditation
6:40 a.m. sutra chanting
6:55 a.m. formal oryoki meal
8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. work practice
9:00 a.m. meditation instruction
10:30 a.m. meditation
11:00 a.m. Dharma talk
12:15 p.m. buffet lunch (except August and February)
Please check for changes or retreat closures at calendar page on website

Join Us for Winter Ango Practice Period 2015, Feb. 2-28

Dear Sangha,

Again, we are presented with an opportunity to deepen our zazen practice together for 27 precious days.
Practice Period will begin on Monday, February 2nd with the Opening Ceremony at 7:30pm and conclude Saturday, February 28 at the Shuso Mondo Ceremony.

Please fill out the attached commitment form and return it to the office via email, post, fax (707-545-9508), or just drop it off on your next visit.

The Dharma on Sonoma Mountain can only flourish with your support and dedicated practice.

Sonoma Mountain Zen Center