Stone Creek Zen Center was founded in 1996 by Rev, Jisho Warner as a place to practice zazen as the whole-hearted investigation of the way (shikantaza). It soon expanded into a center offering dharma talks, daily services and ceremonies, classes, sesshins and other retreats, and precept and sutra study, as well as morning and afternoon zazen. Later, priest training began to be offered. Throughout this time, zazen has remained the central practice, and a life led and guided by zazen the main intent. This has led to an emphasis on developing and sustaining an integrated practice throughout daily life on and off the cushion.
Stone Creek Zen Center is located in the semi-rural West County area of Sonoma County, about sixty miles north of San Francisco, and serves the large and diverse population of the region. The non-residential center has a strong policy of accessibility and welcomes minorities, the young and old, gays and lesbians, and is handicap accessible. A vigorous group of mostly lay members forms the core of the sangha, and many others come there as well. The center's sangha is noted for its warmth and welcome, as well as for its serious practice. The Internet has expanded the ways people can encounter the Buddha Dharma at Stone Creek, and weekly dharma talks are posted on the center's website, which anyone interested is welcome to download freely.
The founder, Rev. Jisho Warner, is a graduate of Harvard University who began Zen practice in 1976 and completed dharma transmission under Rev. Tozen Akiyama at Milwaukee Zen Center in 1996. She also trained closely under Rev. Koshi Ichida at Valley Zendo in Massachusetts, Rev. Dainin Katagiri at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, and Rev. Shundo Aoyama, at the women's training monastery Aichi Senmon Nisodo in Nagoya, Japan. She has ordained three priests, one of whom, Rev. Joko Dave Haselwood, has received dharma transmission and serves as associate teacher at the center. As well as being a priest and teacher of the Japanese Sotoshu, Rev. Warner has been active in developing the North American Soto Zen organization known as the SZBA (Soto Zen Buddhist Association), which is developing as the professional organization and registry for Soto Zen priests in the U.S.A.
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