Please click on the bell in the photo and watch a video about Suzuki Roshi zen in New Orleans. Michaela and Koji have been together for about 5 years and met at Zen mountain Center, Tassajara. Koji is a dharma brother and student of our teacher Kosho McCall at Austin Zen Center and Michaela is a student of Paul Haller, previous abbot of City Center in San Fransisco.
What Koji and Michaela are doing is so important. Zen in the south is still very new and believe me, leaving Zen center is not easy. Here we eat all organic meals, live in beautiful rural settings or swanky urban streets, receive decent stipends, become eligible for health insurance, are surrounded by 40-60 practitioners who know all the words to the heart sutra, the names of ancestors, and can bow in unison like a beautiful school of fish in the ocean.
Michaela and Koji live in the 5th ward. Lulu and I used to live there- we helped set up Mid City Zen. Toulouse street, New Orleans, is a long, long, way from the mountains and rivers of Northern California. It's not easy. Bodies are pulled out of that neighborhood. Cars explode across from the zendo. Bullets fly on occasion.
It's beautiful, dangerous, and important that the Zen Center can become a place of refuge, not just for zen practice, but for all social justice groups and community building efforts.
If you can, please help them.