July 2011 Update

Hello friends,

This missive comes straight from the heart of the Mount Baldy Zen Center’s summer seichu. We completed our first dai-sesshin retreat of the training season several weeks ago, with the following participants (including a few teisho guests):

MBZC July 2011 Dai-Sesshin

Following that retreat, MBZC traveled down to Rinzai-ji, where we participated in a dai-sesshin retreat. After the retreat, we were fortunate enough to attend an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which featured 17th century Zen master Hakuin Ekaku’s caligraphy and drawings. Roshi seemed particularly fond of a piece by one of Hakuin’s monks. It featured a Zen master pinching the nose of a student, and Roshi indicated that it was superior to any other in the collection.

Sasaki Roshi looking at Hakuin's Sumi-e

We have returned to MBZC, and are on day one of a five-day general sesshin. There will be sanzen meetings with Roshi in the mornings at 6am, and in the evenings at 7:30pm. There will also be teisho public talks during this time. If you live nearby and would like to attend, please call 909-985-6410 to find out the times and dates that Roshi will be speaking.

Mount Baldy has two more dai-sesshin retreats this summer: August 7-12, and September 4-10. Seichu ends on September 15. We expect that Roshi will be doing sanzen twice a day and giving teisho intermittently during the non-dai-sesshin stretches of time this summer. Roshi continues to lead our seichu training periods with vigor, skill, and intensity (during the retreat in Los Angeles, for example, he gave two teishos a day, for seven days, on top of meeting with every student three times a day).

Fortunately, we have the following twelve folks here all summer to meet our teacher’s efforts. Here are the staff and students for this year’s summer seichu training program:


Jiki-Jitsu: Kendo
Shoji: Soiku
Shoshoji: Dan MacKinnon


Shika: Gento
Inji: Myoren
Tenzo: Dokan
Shoden: Bindu Dexter
Translator: Kazumi Tanaka
Joju Helper: Myosen


Alice Chan
Andrea Binder
Patrick Mair

Paul Humphries, Josh Lamson, and Roshin are currently on camp as well, and so we have a full house right now. It’s a gift to be able to practice with such sincere and dedicated students, monk, and nuns, especially in such large numbers. Fortunately, we have a large number of tasks to keep everyone busy around camp this summer, including a zendo roof-shingle repair project, a couple painting projects, and the usual upkeep of our grounds.

Speaking of large numbers, it’s time for our MBZC wildlife update: we have been besieged by animals lately thanks to a few late spring and early summer storms. We’ve already caught somewhere between five and six rattlesnakes. (An activity done with a metal snake catcher claw, and a lot of frightened screaming, depending on who’s at the other end of it.) There is a contingent of chipmunks living in the garden behind Roshi’s cabin. They line up together and take turns positioning themselves under a leaky water spigot and drinking while the others stand sentinel. We have spotted several deer, a great many mice, rats, lizards, and blue jays.

On August 21, Dan ManKinnon will be taking his tokudo shiki ordination vows. Dan came to us by way of the North Carolina Zen Center, and has been practicing with Roshi for a little over a year now. He is a sincere, dedicated student who once put his foot through the ceiling of the Zendo while changing a light bulb in the rafters. He will make a fine monk, and we are happy to have him!

Finally, MBZC recently had a board of directors meeting. Our accountant, Karen Salvato, provided detailed financial statements which once again made it abundantly clear that MBZC basically breaks even at the end of every year. We have three main sources of income keeping us solvent: dai-sesshin retreats, workshops (where we rent the facilities out to other groups during the off season), and donations/membership fees.

A deep bow of gratitude, then, to the following 2010-11 donors. Without you, MBZC would operate at a loss. Also listed are those who have made personal donations to Roshi.

Donors to MBZC:

Ruth Parker
Larry LaFlamme
Mark Byers
Shozan Marc Joslyn
Bettie Spurrier
John Carbonne
Francisco de Azeredo
Hudson Thomas Bair
Wen Hsin
Shahreyar Ataie
Paul and Susan Humphreys
Nancy Brothers
John Cline
Steve Slusher
Bruce Wonnacott
Mark and Margaret Faurer
Soko Paul Karsten
Randy Belford
Dan Jones
Jeff Creek
Freda Eidmann
Doshin Sanja Andjelkovic
Bill Flynn
Ann Buck
Charles Siemers
John Radalj
Douglas Doerr
Ritva Talvitie-Sangdahl
Jodo John Candy
Mara Genthner
John Tobin
Dana Dunlap
Mike and Barbara Mulcahy
Cliff Collins
Melita Rebecca Kutcher
Lon and Leanne Crowell
Renee Walker
Diane Divelbess
Mark Faurer
Lisa Hubler
James Weston
Greg Maechling
Vicky Moyle
Robert Pettersen
Alice Yokota
Leonard Pinto
Michelle Bekey
Murray Hockman
Michael Pinces
Doug Goodkin
Kingsley Hines
John Tunstead
Rick Anderson
Ann Buck
Britta Lindgren
Holly Emmer
Akiko Sasaki-Summers
Kyonen Jim Gordon
Danny Poore
Pam Warren
Fred Mostrom

Donors to Roshi:

Judy Cunningham
Maria Gonzales
Veronica Katona
Werner Ainhirin
Saisho Zenji
Jikan Leonard Cohen
Craig & Carole Wesson
Gido & Eko
Hollywood Zen Center
Bodhimanda Zen Center
Akiko Summer-Sasaki
Elisa Atwill
Dokushu Ralf Werner
Jodo Candy
Soko Paul Karsten
Jeff Creek
Bodhidharma Zendo
Master Yu
Diane Hall
Jeff Creek
Susan Crozier & Paul Humphreys
Albuquerque Zen Center
Marilyn Gladle
Jack Drake
Mark Byers
Cesar Plaza & Roxanne Armstrong
Daijo & Gladys
Craig & Carole Wesson
Robert O’Grady
Noel Farmer
Matt Cichon
Meg Salter
Maria Gonzales
Elizabeth Carmen McNicoll
Frank I. Matsuyama
Susan Myoko Arnold
Kigen Raul Davila
John A. Taber
Victor Portes
Anne Marie Jackson
Mary B. Reinhart


Gento, Shika MBZC

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