I am so grateful, beyond words, that yesterday I was accepted into the San Francisco Zen Center on a work study program. I began studying Zen seriously this year, and last year I took part in a two month Bodhissatva studies program in a two month practice period. This is a step on a journey I’ve been on for years, so many years. I didn’t even know this was possible a few years ago when I first started dedicating my life to the dharma. Buddhism as a force for peace is throughout the bay area through incredible resources ranging across so many disciplines and schools, yet united in peace for all people. I meet regularly with the former director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and that’s really where my formal studies began. It’s been a long journey, yet it’s just beginning. The Zen Center has a long tradition in the bay area. It’s in the Soto Zen school of Buddhism, and it is colloquially termed as farmer zen, or a Buddhism of the people. It was started by Suzuki Roshi, who is credited with bringing Zen to the West, particularly in his book, Zen Mind Beginners Mind.
Living in the bay area has been extroardinay. The ability to study and take part in these movements that have really changed our world for the better has been incredible. Ali Akbar Khan’s school, the incredible technology companies, the work of all people, the poets, artists, and musicians that make up this incredible place. We hope to stay here, but we may move at the end of the practice period. Time will tell, but in the next few months, I’m studying Zen and writing. I’ll share my experiences here along the way. I’m not just doing this for me, I’m doing this for everyone.