Updates about the life and events at Mt. Baldy Zen Center

Formal Training Ends, Semi-Formal Training Begins!

Hello friends,

Thunder, lightening, gumball-sized hail pellets, and a heavy rain storm are, at the time of this writing, ushering in the close of Mount Baldy’s summer seichu in dramatic fashion. Fall is upon us, and is falling from the sky.

We wrapped up our final Dai-Sesshin retreat of the summer several days ago, with the following participants:

ds sept.

The officers and students at that retreat were:


Jikijitsu: Dokuro; Joko: Kendo; Tanto Jokei: Gido; Jiki Jokei: Soken; Shoji: Soiku; Shoshoji: Genkai;


Sokan: Jikan; Shika: Gento; Inji: Myoren; Dai-ten: Seido; Tenzo: Dokan; Shoten: Shinkai; Densu: Eko; Shoden: Sohan; Densu Helper:  Bindu Dexter; Translator: Kazumi Tanaka; Joju Helper: Myosen


Eng Chew Ang; Bill Baldyga; Charlie Billingsley; Andrea Binder; Adam Bright; Alice Chan; E’Cho; Bill Flynn; Genshin; Deva Graf; Lisa Hubler; Susan Hupfer-Nitz; Cheryl Keating; Tracy Keating; Jenny Liu; Patrick Mair; Tom McConkie; Oscar Moreno; Vicky Moyle; Shuko; Shuon

Dai Sesshin retreats are intense, rigorous and a great deal of work for everyone involved, from the newest of students to our 104-year-old teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi. And so, a deep bow of gratitude to everyone who participated in the four retreats of our summer training season.

Meanwhile, this seichu saw Paul Karsten return to the fold of the ordained again, after a thirty year intermission.  Here he is, newly re-minted as Soko, with his daughter Lauren at the ceremony:


Dan MacKinnon was ordained as Genkai (Gen=origin, kai=ocean) in late August this summer. Roshi presided over the ceremony as Doshi, with the help of Gido, Hosen, Eko and Koyo. Genkai’s parents, Don and Hyon-Chu, along with his sister Kathy and brother-in-law Jim attended the ceremony.

Here is Genkai, with his parents in the background, in another expert image compliments of Myosen:


Genkai is part of MBZC’s fulltime seikan staff, which includes Dokan, Bindu Dexter and me. Myoren is also a Mount Baldy staff member, though she travels with Roshi when he leaves MBZC.

Fall seikan semi-formal training is officially underway, but for those of you who are already missing seichu formal training, we have our winter schedule:

Mt. Baldy Zen Center  –  Winter Seichu 2011-2012

Dec 9:                             Winter Seichu Begins

Dec 14:                           Hashin kyuji Day

Dec 15 – 22:                  Rohatsu

Dec 22:                          Jodo-E Ceremony

Rinzai-ji Zen Center

(Part of Mt. Baldy Winter Seichu)

Jan 10:                          Rinzai-ki Ceremony

Jan 11:                           Hashin kyuji Day

Jan 12 – 18:                  Dai-Sesshin

Mt. Baldy Zen Center

Feb 7:                             Hashin kyuji Day

Feb 8 – 14:                     Dai-Sesshin

Feb 15:                           Nirvana Day Ceremony


March 3:                       Hashin kyuji Day

March 4 – 10:              Dai-Sesshin

March 15:                     Seichu Ends

Spaces are already filling up for these retreats, especially Rohatsu. So please get us a $200 non-refundable deposit if you would like to attend any of our Dai Sesshins this winter. Please be aware that priests, monks and nuns will be given priority for these retreats, so if you are not ordained and would like to reserve a spot — now’s the time, before the retreats fill up. Also, please remember that on ceremony days, the staff will be busy in the morning, and will not be able to drive you to the airport, so purchase your return tickets accordingly (early/late afternoon).

Well, as these things go, in the time it’s taken to compose this email, eat our final formal dinner of summer seichu, and then come back to send the email, the sky has turned bright blue, the sun is shining (though heading downward), and approximately one billion raindrops are glistening on every pine needle on the property.

But if the weather changes instantly and dramatically around here, one thing has not. For the past several decades, Nancy Brothers has served on MBZC’s board of directors. How many decades exactly? Nancy herself isn’t quite sure. She found MBZC in 1974, joined the board a few years later, and has been on it ever since. As secretary of the board, her first minutes date back to 1981. Now she is moving with her husband to upstate New York to be closer to her grandchildren, and is retiring from the board. Speaking with another board member today, we both acknowledged how we will miss Nancy, who has a calm, grounded presence, a sharp mind, a warm heart, and a great sense of humor.


Gento, Shika