Sacred Conversations on Race

James Thompson and Martha Howden, of the Seeing Through Racism Committee, have passed along this announcement about a workshop that will take place on two upcoming Saturdays, October 13 and October 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:

We are all finding ways to live consciously in this world of turmoil. We are so fortunate to have this practice of Zen to help us. There are many ways to practice, as well as many stages. It can be tempting to work on our “practice” and to forget about the turmoil of the world altogether, to simply stay in our silos, our tribes.

One of the primary areas of suffering, and one of the greatest areas in need of social action in this country, is racism. Although “race” is kind of a myth or non-entity, the concept has profound repercussions. The repercussions resound throughout U.S. history. From the colonizing days, there was violence toward the indigenous people and enslaved Africans. The mode of seeing people who are different not only as “other” but as also as “inferior” is still harming all of us today. It harms people of Color. It harms White people. In this time of painful national awakening, White people are getting accusations of racism hurled at them, and they may feel both confused and defensive. And many Buddhist centers in the West are noticing how White their participants are. So they are not immune. Our long racist history has grown an insidious national infrastructure that will require much work from us to purge.

But we all have our stories. At bottom people need to hear each other. All “sides,” all “tribes.” From there we can reach a deeper degree of empathy. Still, what does one do with that? Is simply “doing our practice” enough? Or can actions to overcome racism actually enhance practice, make it deeper and more integrated, so that we are more at home everywhere?

We are hoping that the two-day workshop named “Sacred Conversations on Race” will be an avenue for bringing some light to these dim areas of the soul … especially in the realm of action, of living our practice. 

Please check out the attached flyer for details.

Funeral Service for Audrey Fernandez

Last Sunday, September 23, we held a memorial service for Audrey Fernandez, the last remaining founding member of the Center. We’ll hold her funeral service in the zendo at Arnold Park on Sunday, October 14, at 11 a.m.

Podcast News

We recently moved the feed for the longtime Center podcast of teisho and dharma talks. For those who subscribe via iTunes or some other pod catcher, it’s likely you will get about 20 duplicate recordings the next time you open your podcast app. After that it will stabilize, and (unlike in the past) the previous episodes won’t be limited to 24. In time it will increase to 300.

While we were moving the feed, we also moved the audio archives that date back to 2007. Their new home is

If you have any problems with the podcast or audio archives, please let John Pulleyn know (

Piano Lessons

Henry Bodkin (, who recently did some months of residential training at the Center, has asked us to send this out:

I am wondering if you might spread the word in the larger Sangha that I would like to teach individual piano lessons. I have many years of experience teaching kids and adults. 

I have 10 years of teaching experience and 24 years of playing experience. I teach people of all ages. I teach primarily classical piano, and I use the Thompson method.