In the 1970s I practiced with and cooked for a Cambodian Theravadin monk. During the 1980s I sat with a Berkeley Theravadin teacher as well as at the Thich Nhat Han center in Albany. In 1995 my son started practicing at Tassajara. I enjoyed my visits there. I found the Soto Zen culture offered me a new way to explore sangha practice. I have been sitting at Berkeley Zen Center since 2000. I received lay ordination in 2002 from Sojun Roshi. I have held several practice positions including doan, headserver, newsletter editor, and head dishwasher.
Since age 40 I have had post-polio syndrome. In 2013 I had three strokes. These added to my interest in disability and how we practice with pain and mind. When I began to study here I followed one idea. We are to support our teachers and help in any way we can to preserve the practice we achieve together here. It is because of this that I agreed to be a Board-nominated candidate to serve for a second time on the Berkeley Zen Center Board.
My Zen practice started when I wandered into Tassajara one May day in 1974. They let me stay 3 days, then sent me to San Francisco. That was 44 years ago! I haven’t been steady in my practice; sometimes I disappeared, then reappeared. I lived in SFZC, sat through beautiful and excruciating sesshins at Green Gulch, and ended up at Berkeley. Along the way I experienced a powerful period of practice with Joko Beck and Diane Rizetto; did vipassana in Bodh Gaya with Christopher Titmuss and in Santa Cruz with Gil Fronsdal; received two rakusus through the kindness of Maureen Stuart and Mel
My professional life has been academic. I tried to disappear from that too but didn’t succeed, eventually settling down to teach in the Religious Studies department at Stanford 1996-2017. In the cases of both academic and zen practice, I tried on multiple occasions to quit them, but they wouldn’t quit me.
I’ve never gotten involved with administrative functions at BZC. Maybe that’s why I’ve had so much fun. Now I’d like to contribute a little, if possible, to BZC, from which I’ve benefited immeasurably.
I joined BZC in 1990 and received lay ordination from Sojun in 1995. I have been co-zendo manager, co-Saturday director, and head chiden. I used to assemble our oryoki sets and sew the cloths. I’m currently note taker at Monday morning practice committee meetings which motivates me to understand other points of view, practice patience and humor and refine goals to get things done. I also enjoy teaching oryoki.
My husband, Gordon, and I live in Oakland and I have two really great grown children. My granddaughter is 20 and a junior at the California College of Art in SF. After an MS in Early childhood Education, I trained in Montessori and opened Montclair Montessori Home School which was a small morning program at my house for 13 years. Preschool practice transfers in wonderful ways to Zen practice. I’ve also been an anti-poverty volunteer lobbyist with RESULTS for about 30 years. As a board member, I hope to bring my experience to benefit the BZC sangha.