Dharma Talk and Sangha Meeting – August 14

After a long delay through the uncertainty of Covid and the intricacies of the permitting process of Sonoma County, renovation of the zendo for Stone Creek Zen Center is finally moving towards completion!

This Sunday, August 14, we will be holding sangha meetings in-person and later on Zoom to discuss where we started, where we are now, and what’s to come. All who are interested in supporting the growth of Stone Creek are invited to participate.

A timeline of the history of the zendo is listed below.

On Sunday morning we will meet in person at the Graton Community Club. Zazen, service, and a short talk will start at 10am, followed by the sangha meeting from 11am – 12pm.

If you are unable to join in person, we will be holding a second meeting on Zoom at 4pm that day. The link is the same as for the regular Sunday zazen and talk: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7179797575?pwd=Zk5DV1ZhdGtPU3RxcFZFaUFGaTdZQT09#success



1996 Our original backyard zendo opened in Sebastopol and grew.

2008 We moved to a larger space in Forestville.

2009 We moved, again, to our building in Graton and kept growing.

2017 We bought the property, raising funds in a capital campaign and receiving a low-interest mortgage from a generous sangha member, after obtaining a use permit for public occupancy. The permit required renovation and expansion be done within five years.

2019 Planning and fundraising began for renovation and expansion. We raised funds in a second capital campaign, and our in-house lender generously expanded our mortgage commitment to meet our needs.

The sangha deliberated over improvements. With our designer-architect, we decided to expand 15 feet and move some interior walls to enlarge existing rooms. The sangha’s decision at that time included a bigger sangha room, an enlarged entry with coat and shoe storage, better windows, two dokusan rooms, more library and storage space, a third bathroom with shower, a cleaning supplies closet, energy upgrades including an on-demand water heater, and gardens with a kinhin path, memorial area, and patio.

Burt Quinn, contractor and longtime sangha member, took charge of the project, with Deborah Sweitzer, designer-architect; Jisho, permit coordinator; Laurie Mattinson, procurements; Laurie and Korin, budgeting and bookkeeping; and Dojin and Jisho, garden design.

2020 The plan was scaled back because of rising costs due to state and county code requirements. Revised plans were submitted to the county Permit Department. When the pandemic forced the zendo’s closure, Burt started work on changes to the building that did not require a permit.

Major pro bono services held costs down: Burt’s preliminary work on the plan, Deborah’s design expertise, Iva Slone’s structural engineering, Sean Plikuhn’s Title 24 report, Brian Zahl’s carpentry, portions of architect Alima Silverman’s and landscape architect Jeanna Menze’s services, and lots of volunteer sangha labor.

2021 We sought and received approval for permits for sewer, parking, and design review. The building permit process was convoluted and frustrating, requiring two separate changes of responsible signers. The stringent county regulations, tighter even than the state’s, held us up regarding fire safety and ADA accessibility.

2022 In June, our building permit was approved, and we started to move forward on the addition in a completely changed climate.

2023 We anticipate being able to move into our fine new space in early 2023 with a temporary certificate of occupancy. Final completion is projected for spring 2023, when the garden is completed. At that time we will receive our permanent certificate of occupancy.


Blessing Ceremony for Construction of the New Zendo – August 21

The completion of the zendo is underway!

As the foundation is poured and the walls rise, we’ll process the few blocks from the Graton Community Center to the building 2999 Bowen Street to reclaim the space as the center of our practice together, remember our vision and intentions, and offer blessings.

10:00 – 10:30 am Zazen, followed by a procession to the zendo, dedication ceremony, and celebratory refreshments.

Racial and Social Justice as Dharma Practice – August 25

A multi-sangha program hosted monthly by Hoka Chris Fortin and Doralee Grindler Katonah.

Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm (PT) – On Zoom
The 4th Thursday of each month 

If we were to simply walk past the fires of racism, sexism, and so on because illusions of separation exist within them, we may well be walking past one of the widest gateways to enlightenment.

— Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, The Way of Tenderness

More information and to register:

Study Class: Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet – July 6 – August 10

Six Wednesdays 6pm – 7pmPT, July 6 – August 10 – online
with Annette JoE’ Lille

Beloved Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is blazingly clear: “there’s one thing we all have the power to change, which can make all of the difference, and that is our mind. Our way of looking, seeing, and thinking determines every choice we make, the everyday actions we take or avoid, how we relate to those we love or oppose, and how we react in a crisis.”

Zen & the Art of Saving the Planet

From Annette:

I have found Thich Nhat Hanh’s latest book to be a simple and straightforward response to the complex and ever-present questions we live as Buddhist practitioners. He has lived war, he has lived relocation, he has lived activism and he has developed community. We can learn joy and love from his experience and wisdom. In the hour we have together we will open with zazen, read from the text and engage in comments and discussion.

Annette Lille came to Zen practice in 1972. She was initially ordained in 1983 following ten years of practice at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Annette moved with her husband and two daughters to Sonoma County, California in 1986 where she continued her practice and study with an emphasis on hospital, end-of-life and hospice chaplaincy. Annette re-ordained with Jisho Warner Roshi in 1999 and received dharma transmission in 2013. She has served the Stone Creek Sangha in multiple practice and administrative roles and as a hospital and hospice chaplain for ten years. She finds her joy in zazen, writing and tending her flower garden.

By Donation ($100-$60 suggested).
To register, contact info@stonecreekzen.org.

The zoom link for the class will be available upon confirmation.

Questions? Please email info@stonecreekzen.org.