Abbot’s Activities – June, July 2018, and beyond


Our Abbot, Setsuan Gaelyn Roshi has been involved and active as usual, both inside the temple and in outside activities.

Some of those recent activities include:

Hosting for a second time the annual meeting of the American Zen Teachers Association, which met at our temple July 18-22. Zen teachers from all over the United States meet to discuss ideas and issues important to American Zen Buddhist teachers from the Soto, Rinzai, Korean, Diamond, and Harada-Yasutani lineages of Zen.

She just completed leading Sangha week at  Tassajara. Participants included six practitioners from our Sangha as well as eight practitioners from other Sanghas around the country. It was such a wonderful experience for everyone that she plans to do it again next summer. The dates will be June 9-14, 2019.

Along with Tim Schorre, Gaelyn Roshi continues her work of sharing the Dharma at one of the prisons in Huntsville. At the last meeting 54 prisoners attended, learning about meditation and Buddhist principals.

Our Abbot has been asked to speak on behalf of the North American Soto Zen Buddhist Association at two Zen centers in New York: Village Zendo, led by Enkyo O’Hara Roshi in Manhattan; and Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn, led by Shugen Arnold Roshi.   

Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of Auspicious Cloud Temple and all sentient beings.

Come Volunteer With Us!


Check out the new volunteer board on the kitchen wall! See if you have room for taking on one of the many delightful volunteer tasks of our thriving practice place. The procedure is simple: choose a task, find a time when the temple is open (weekday times: Monday through Thursday 9:30 to 11:30 or make arrangements for other times once you understand the task), and check with Joy, our Volunteer Coordinator, if you need guidance.

For some volunteer tasks, we’ll provide a brief orientation. Once you complete a task, move the tab to the bottom of the board.When people come to our temple, they often comment on how clean and orderly it is.  At HZC, all but a few of the roles in the temple and grounds are done by volunteers. This work is done moment by moment by many different people, sometimes during Sunday soji practice (temple cleaning) and sometimes at other times when someone comes and turns the compost, another bodhisattva picks up and delivers the mulch needed for our seasonal garden care, and someone else straightens the brochures on the foyer table.

The process of working together and caring for the temple is an intimate part of our practice. Yes, we take care of tasks, we get things done, but the practice-mind of noticing what arises in each action, noticing our habit energy related to work, and bringing our mind back again and again to the exquisite moment of the very present task before us—this training helps us carry our Zen practice into the world.


New co-Tanto at HZC

Gayle Klaybor is the new co-Tanto (Head of Practice) at Zen Center! Gayle's deep and dedicated Zen practice will benefit everyone. She and Louise Dreyfus are the co-Tantos, co Heads of Practice. You are encouraged to meet with either of them to discuss practice.

Welcome to Gayle! 

Glen Duval, our long-time co-Tanto is stepping down from the position and will relocate to Santa Fe, NM for most of each year. He will remain available for Practice Discussion when he is in Houston, and also by remote communication means (phone, video). Thank you Glen!

Louise continues as co-Tanto and, along with Gayle, the Abbot, and the Practice Committee, will provide steady guidance for the practice of Zen Center friends and members.  

Mary Carol Edwards, Glen Duval, Gaelyn Godwin, Gayle Klaybor, Judson Dunn, Louise Dreyfus. Photo by Daniel Salazar-Hopps

Mary Carol Edwards, Glen Duval, Gaelyn Godwin, Gayle Klaybor, Judson Dunn, Louise Dreyfus. Photo by Daniel Salazar-Hopps

Louise Dreyfus, Glen Duval, Gayle Klaybor.

Louise Dreyfus, Glen Duval, Gayle Klaybor.

New Zen Priests


Zen Center is pleased to announce the ordination of Rev. Zengetsu Vicki Glenn and Rev. Sengetsu Tricia McFarlin by Abbot Gaelyn Godwin on Sunday, June 10. Many friends and family members celebrated this auspicious event. The new priests will continue to serve the sangha in countless ways. 

New Refrigerator! Also completed roof repair!

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The new refrigerator has arrived: it's spacious and fabulous! It is a commercial refrigerator, perfect for retreats (and everyday use, also). The new freezer will arrive a little later. These are made possible by all your generous donations to the appeal last year. Zen Center requested funds to repair the roof after Hurricane Harvey (accomplished: less costly than expected) and to replace the aged temple refrigerator with a new commercial one. This has now been accomplished. The total cost of the refrigerator and new freezer is just on target, at the low end of our estimate. Thanks to all who worked to research options (Joy T), inspect possibilities (Tim and Abbot Gaelyn), and then upgrade the wiring (Jose), build new shelves (Robert) move all the pots & pans (Jim and Tom), and move the unit into place (Brandon). But mostly, thanks to all of you for your ongoing generosity and love. The refrigerator is open for inspection anytime. 

Meditation at the Rothko Chapel with Abbot Gaelyn


Abbot Gaelyn led the monthly meditation at the beautiful Rothko Chapel in April, surrounded by Mark Rothko's powerful art and a crowd of meditators. Here is an audio recording -- it includes meditation instructions along with a lot of meditative quiet! David Leslie, the newish director of the Rothko provides introductory remarks.

New Garden Altar

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Mary Carol and Daniel installed the new garden altar, built by Robert, designed by Mary Carol. Soon we will have a ceremony to open the new bodhisattva in the altar. You can find it in the sitting area near the vegetable garden.

Zen Priest Royce Johnson


Rev. Royce Johnson came for a visit! Now living in Monterey, CA, Royce (ordained by the Abbot in 2014) was at Houston Zen Center to attend the One-Day Sitting and Precepts Receiving Ceremony. What a joy to see our long time friend and former resident of HZC!

Happy New Year


The New Year arrived after 108 bows in the Center, a warm fire outside where we burned slips of paper with karmic hindrances written on them, and a toast to welcome the new opportunities. May the New Year bring us all together in peace. The Year of the Dog arrives -- and it's the year of the Earth Dog, communicative, sincere and reliable. This watercolor is a gift from Densho Quintero from the Zen group in Bogotá, Colombia.

WildAid Bat Mitzvah Benefit


Abby made a clear and strong presentation to the sangha on Sunday in support of her efforts to raise awareness and funds for WildAid, a group that protects animals from harmful poaching. Abby's project is for her Bat Mitzvah preparations. She offered beautiful soaps for sale that she'd made herself! The sangha asked many questions about the animals - and bought more than $400 worth of soap!

Tassajara Visitors!


Zen Priests Linda Galijan and Greg Fain will be here this weekend! From Friday, December 22 until next week. Linda is the President of San Francisco Zen Center; Greg is the Tanto/Head of Practice of Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California (the largest Zen monastery in the West). Both are very dear friends of Houston Zen Center and will be here for several days. Please come visit them and ask any questions you would like about Zen practice and training.