COVID-19 Updates

-March 15, 2020

As recommendations from the California CDC keep evolving, we have been adjusting our policies at Stone Creek in response to the COVID-19 virus.
As of this afternoon. we will suspend ALL events at Stone Creek, and will be in touch as things change, and we will try to post changes on the website as often as we can if you have questions.
SUNDAY DHARMA TALKS: We will continue to work on a livestreaming option for the Sunday talks (and have heard about the challenges for our first attempt on 3/15).  We will try to at very least post the audio file of the Sunday Dharma Talks within a day (the one from this morning is posted). For recent and archived talks, go to:  https://stonecreekzencenter.org/category/dharma-talks/
DOKUSAN: The teachers are still available to meet one-on-one for dokusan by appointment, either in an outside location or via Zoom online.  Please email us directly to make an appointment.
ANGO: The last two Ango evening meetings and the Half Day Sit scheduled for 3/21 will both be postponed. All of the audio files for the Sunday Talks pertaining to Ango thusfar are posted, see the link above.
We had a number of creative ideas brought forward this morning of ways we can stay connected as a sangha, especially if public gatherings continue to be limited beyond the next few weeks.  We will be in touch about these possibilities once the situation becomes more stable.


-March 14, 2020

We want to give you an update about what changes are happening at Stone Creek with regards to the public health concerns around COVID-19.

To begin, we encourage all of us to engage this situation with our practice minds and Bodhisattva hearts. We are making these changes to protect the well being of our community- both near and far- and also to maintain as much of a refuge at Stone Creek as we can, given the constraints of this pandemic.

Please see our original protocols for the center below, with the addition of asking everyone to practice social distancing: keeping a 4-6 foot radius both in the zendo and when we are moving around informally. 

If you are in an at-risk population, please do stay home to protect your well being.


March 15th: The Zen Center will be open this Sunday, 3/15, with a modified schedule- no early morning schedule, no breakfast or soji.

[If there are volunteers who are not in high-risk populations who are able to come on Sunday at 930 to do some cleaning/ sanitizing of the zendo, please do.  Dojin will be there to head up these efforts.]

We will have zazen from 10-1030 (again, observing social distancing)

and a Dharma talk at 1030

We are working on a format for livestreaming the Dharma Talks, and hope to have this in place by Sunday.  If we have it set up by then, we will post the link on our website so you have the option to tune in online.

Sundays after 3/15: The Zen Center will not be open on Sundays, and the Dharma Talks will be solely offered by livestream online. Again please see the website for details and the link.



Morning zazen Monday through Thursday, Monday and Wed. afternoon zazen at Stone Creek, and  Thursday afternoon outdoor sitting group will all continue as scheudled, with the request that everyone attending carefully follow the protocols for limiting the spread of germs, including social distancing.



Jisho, Korin and Dojin will continue to offer dokusan (one-on-one meetings with sangha members), again observing social distancing, and meeting outside when needed.  Please consider emailing one of the teachers about meeting for dokusan as a way to stay connected to Stone Creek and your practice in this time of more limited offerings at the zendo.


Stone Creek COVID-19 Protocols

We are aware of the many concerns surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the public health crisis it creates in our community and around the world. This level of crisis, understandably, generates a lot of fear and overwhelm, and we are grateful to be able to call on our practice to stay grounded and rooted in wisdom to take the best care of ourselves and one another.

Because we want to continue to offer our programs at Stone Creek, as a place of refuge from the confusion and overwhelm, we plan to continue our weekly schedule for the time being, with the following protocols in place to protect from the spread of illness:

1) Stay home when ill: If you are sick with cough, fever, or shortness of breath, we ask that you please stay home. With fever, please wait until you are fever free for a full 24 hours before returning to community events. If you have only a cough and no other symptoms, please wear a mask when attending events.

2) Mindful practice of hand- cleaning: When you arrive at the Zen Center, please wash your hands (for at least 30 seconds with soap and warm water) or use hand-sanitizer upon entering the building and whenever needed thereafter.  This will be a change for many of us in our routine, so please leave a few extra minutes for this practice, and be patient with others as they follow this request.

For more information about effective hand washing, please see: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/

3) Have tissues on hand: We will provide tissues at the center. If you need to cough or sneeze, please do so into a tissue, discard it, and wash hands as soon after as you are able. If no tissue is available, please cough or sneeze into your elbow, and do all you can to minimize others’ contact with the impacted sleeve.

4) Refrain from physical contact/ Practice bowing!: For the time-being, please do not shake hands or hug others. We have a wonderful practice of offering bows to one another that we can make use of as an expression of our mutual care and regard, while minimizing physical contact.

5) Wiping down surfaces: We will enlist community members to wipe down surfaces and door handles with anti-bacterial spray during the times we gather for events. Please volunteer if you are able.

6) Finally, and most importantly, Please be Generous, Kind, Patient, Thoughtful, Attentive and Wise: This is an excellent time to engage the Bodhisattva paramitas, to go slow and not allow fear to overtake our view, words and actions. We can engage with this crisis as we do with any challenge in our lives: pay close attention to our experience, root ourselves in the dharma, and take good care of ourselves and one another as the manifestation of Bodhisattva activity in this world of suffering.

For updated information about COVI-19, please see the Center for Disease Control’s website:


We will post this announcement at the center, and will send email updates and post announcements on our website if any information changes or if we need to cancel or postpone events.


Racial Literacy and Dharma Inquiry Group – Next Meeting June 3 6-8 pm on Zoom

6:00 – 8:00 pm

All people are raised with cultural conditioning around race. If we were raised in the U.S., and especially if we identify as “white” or “European-descended,” our conditioning tends to include a value for colorblindness, which can make it difficult for to acknowledge, let alone investigate, our racial conditioning and biases. This book group is intended to expand our racial literacy, as Micheal Eric Dyson puts it, to develop a more intimate understanding together of racial oppression and the suffering it causes across color lines in the U.S., and to engage this as our practice in Zen of turning towards suffering as the gate of awakening and liberation.

Pre-registration for the group is requested each month, so that everyone can have the page assignments, articles, and to consider the agreements before each meeting.

To register, or for more information please email:


Facilitated by: Hoka Chris Fortin and Dojin Sarah Emerson

The two teachers facilitating the group identify as white, U.S. citizens, and Zen Buddhist priests. We understand the limitations of our experiences in relation to race, and strive to bring cultural humility to our facilitation of these groups.


Next Meeting: Wednesday June 3, 6-8pm

Book: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Hall Kimmerer


Coming up…

Summer reading!




March and April: The Inner Work of Racial Justice by Rhonda Magee

February:  “There There” by Tommy Orange.

December 2019 and January 2020: How to be Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi

November 2019:

American Sutra by Duncan Ryuken Williams

AND The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

September/Summer 2019:


This summer, we want to empower the group to set out some on your own to find resources: books, articles, films, etc. that support us in broadening beyond perspectives of privilege and disrupting our acculturated racism.  So the challenge is to do some research (online or in community…or both!) and read (at least) one non-fiction book, one fiction book, one article, and watch at least one video that supports and fosters your racial literacy and dharma inquiry.

Please email the group what you are reading/ watching, so that we can compile a list collectively (it’s fine if several people read/ watch the same thing).
Then, in September, each of us will synthesize for the group what we watched/ read and how it impacted us.

In case you would like somewhere to start, here are links to just a few antiracist reading/ resource lists:
Antiracist reading/ resource lists

From Goodreads:


By Ibram X Kendi in NY Times:


From White Awake (includes articles and videos):


From Powell’s Books:


From Charis Books (more scholastic):


A reading list For Gov. Ralph Northum by Ibram X Kendi:


And, in addition to these lists, a couple of specific suggestions:

Book: American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 by Benjamin Madley


and Video: “When they see us” an mini-series directed by Ava DuVernay about the “Central Park Five”
available on Netflix- https://www.netflix.com/browse?jbv=80200549&jbp=1&jbr=1



June 2019:  The reading for June will be “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler, the fifth chapter of “White Fragility” by Robin DeAngelo and “The Case for Reparations” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.


May 2019 readings: Book: “Awakening Together” by Larry Yang, Chapter 4 of “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, and Rev angel Kyodo williams’ article, “Your Liberation is on the Line.”

April 2019 readings: “The Way of Tenderness” by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel and the third chapter of “White Fragility” by Robin DeAngelo.

March 2019 readings: Becoming by Michelle Obama

review first two chapters of White Fragility

article: “Your Liberation is on the Line” by angel Kyodo williams in Buddhadharma magazine, Spring 2019

February 2019 Book:  The 57 Bus by Dashka Slate.

January 2019 book: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo.

December 2018 book: Kindred by Octavia Butler.

Book for November 2018: Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora.

Book for Oct. 2018: Mindful of Race by Ruth King

Book for Sept. 2018 : summer reading (see below)


Summer Reading:For July and August, we are suggesting three books: one non-fiction, one fiction, and one Dharma and Race specific.

For the Summer Reading, we are asking that everyone read at least one book…and all three if possible
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
Now and then a book comes along that might in time touch the public and educate social commentators, policymakers, and politicians about a glaring wrong that we have been living with that we also somehow don’t know how to face. The New Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness…is such a work.” -The New York Review of Books
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Puliter Prize winner for fiction in 1986.A New York Times survey of writers and literary critics ranked it the best work of American fiction from 1981 to 2006. This novel looks at the family of Sethe in the aftermath of escaping slavery.

Radical Dharma, by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Dr. Jasmine Syedullah
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening.


June 2018: When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrice Khan-Cullors and asha bandale

May 2018: Homegoing by Ya’a Gyasi

April 2018: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

March 2018: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and instead of an article, we are asking members to watch the film “I Am Not Your Negro” (available through PBS and streaming through Amazon)

 February 2018 Waking Up White by Peggy Irving

It was decided by the January group that going forward we will read one book per month, so beginning in Feb. and going forward we will read the whole book for each meeting.

January 2018Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

December 2017: Tears We Cannot Stop: a Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson pages 123-end
article: “We’re Still Here”
November/December 2017: Tears We Cannot Stop: a Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

November 8, 2017: pages 1-123

and article: “Waking Up to Whiteness” by Greg Snyder








We will hold a four-day sesshin at Stone Creek Zen Center, including sitting, walking, oryoki meals, dokusan and dharma talks. Partial participation of at least one full day is welcome. Monday, January 20 – Wednesday, January 22, 6:20 am – 8:00 pm and Thursday, January 23, 6:20 am – 4:00 pm. Pre-registration required. Fee: $210 for members, $280 for non-members. One-day participation: $60 for members, $80 for non-members. Reduced fees are available. Led by Jisho and Korin. Local accommodations may be available for those who do not live nearby and wish to stay overnight in the area.

The theme for the talks will be “One Bright Pearl” by Eihei Dogen.

Jisho Roshi


Our monthly introduction to Zen practice. Instruction in zazen and a chance to get to know the center. No pre-registration, no fee. Just come. 11 am – noon. Please note the time change as this used to be offered on Saturdays at 9 am.

We also are happy to now be able to offer this class by appointment, if this time does not work for your schedule.  Please contact us if you are interested in scheduling a different time.

Zazen is wholehearted sitting, dropping off thoughts and views and returning to life here and now, over and over.