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July 18, 2018

Remembering Jordan Thorn

Photo by Shundo David Haye

Shokan Jordan Thorn

January 13, 1953 – June 10, 2018

With great sorrow, we announce the passing away of Shokan Jordan Thorn. Jordan was a constant warm presence at San Francisco Zen Center, welcoming and caring for students, staff and employees, visitors and Board members, and overseeing many areas of SF Zen Center practice and administrative operations.

Posting on by David Chadwick.

We take refuge in Buddha, we take refuge in Dharma, we take refuge in Sangha.

From Scott Wren:

I met Jordan at Green Gulch in the late ’80s. I was new to practice and he had returned to Zen Center after living for a number of years in Berkeley. I remember the time I first heard him in Reb’s Book of Serenity class. Somebody erupted in laughter. The sound was big and expansive. Fresh and lively. Nothing was being held back. You could feel the breadth and depth of it.

Flash forward a few years: I was on the San Francisco Zen Center Board, and Jordan moved to City Center. I was chair of the Finance Committee and Jordan became Treasurer. We worked closely and shared our love of practice and sitting together. We also soon discovered that we shared an interest in wine. Eventually we started a tasting group that met a couple of times a year for dinners and tastings. To say Jordan liked to drink wine would be true, but would miss what I came to appreciate was the main point of his appetites. Jordan loved everything in life. From food and wine to sci-fi and sports—he embraced it all. He often struck me as the modern day equivalent of Zen bon vivant and poet Ikkyu, who famously wondered, “Why is it all so beautiful, this fake dream, this craziness. Why?”

Jordan didn’t waste a lot of time trying to answer such “why” questions. He was too busy enjoying and sharing his life with friends and students. I found him to be a wonderfully inspirational dharma friend and teacher. I’ll never forget one lecture he gave a few years back where he invoked Spiderman as a model for Zen practice. After all, Spiderman was just an ordinary, slightly weird guy who developed super powers. So he started saving people. No big deal. Just doing what came naturally. Nothing special. But, in fact, it was very special. Just like Jordan.

I count myself as very, very lucky to have known Jordan and I loved him dearly. He wasn’t bigger than life—he was life itself.

Jim Fitton with Jordan after his jukai initiation ceremony in April 2012.


July 18, 2018

Shokan Jordan Thorn’s Funeral

Jordan at Greens Restaurant. Photo by Shundo David Haye.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer will officiate for Shokan Jordan Thorn’s funeral on Sunday, August 5 at 10 am.

The ceremony will be held in the Buddha Hall at San Francisco Zen Center, 300 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

For practical queries, call the Front Office at 415-863-3136.

Program for Funeral Ceremony (PDF).


December 5, 2017

Junsei Jana Drakka’s Funeral

Gengetsu Junsei Jana Drakka / Mysterious Moon, Pure Spirit
October 21, 1952 – October 27, 2017

Funeral Ceremony – Friday, December 15, 2017, 4 pm

Hosshinji – Beginner’s Mind Temple
San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center, 300 Page Street, SF

For more information, call 415.863.3136.

Funeral Ceremony Program
(Will be available at the ceremony.)

There is an accessible entrance.
The event will be Livestreamed to accommodate those who are not able to attend.


November 14, 2017

Remembering Del Carlson

Still from video by Frazer Bradshaw

December 1923 – November 7, 2017

From the Facebook post of San Francisco Zen Center, courtesy of Linda Galijan and Sachico Ohanks:

Del Carlson passed away on the morning of November 7 in Sarasota, Florida. Del came to Tassajara in 1969 at the invitation of Yvonne Rand and spent many summers working in the Tassajara kitchen. He also regularly joined the community at Green Gulch Farm for practice periods. We hold him in our thoughts.

“Sooner or later we may die, and we will go to the same place we go when we sit.” —Suzuki Roshi, July 30, 1965

This video by cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw opens with Del working diligently in the Zen kitchen at Tassajara. page on Del Carlson

Still from video by Frazer Bradshaw

November 7, 2017

Remembering Junsei Jana Drakka

Gengetsu Junsei Jana Drakka / Mysterious Moon, Pure Spirit
October 21, 1952 – October 27, 2017

Memorial service at San Francisco Zen Center, 300 Page Street, Thursday, November 9, 6:10 – 6:30 pm

Funeral Ceremony at City Center on Friday, December 15, at 4 pm in the City Center Buddha Hall. There is an accessible entrance. The event will be Livestreamed to accommodate those who are not able to attend.

From the Facebook page hosted by Rev. Joko Mira Ingram and Shishin Junsei Benn Meyers:

Reverend Gengetsu Junsei Jana Drakka departed her body on October 28 at 9:16 pm. Please join us for a memorial in her honor at San Francisco Zen Center on Thursday, November 9 at 6:10 pm sharp. With her “Zendo Without Walls,” Rev. Junsei Jana Drakka brought the Dharma to many of San Francisco’s poor, houseless, and marginalized communities. She created and taught Harm Reduction Meditation to support people facing great stressors. She could often be seen on the streets of San Francisco giving comfort to people who were suffering, and her presence will be greatly missed.

Jana wanted you to know that loving you was a great joy in her life. Like her teacher, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, she felt that kindness is one of our most important practices. She said, “There is never such a thing as too much love.” This is a basic realization that has sustained her in the past difficult days, freeing her to do her inner work despite the pain.

Prior to the memorial, there will be the usual evening period of zazen/meditation starting at 5:40 pm (please arrive by 5:30 pm). Anyone who is attending the memorial is welcome to join the period of zazen beforehand. The memorial will begin promptly, and parking is scarce, so please allow yourself extra time to park if driving.

This event is wheelchair accessible. San Francisco Zen Center is at 300 Page Street at Laguna. Entrance to the memorial will be at the Laguna Street double-door entrance (enter through right-hand door).

Junsei Jana Drakka dies at 65 by Lilly Greenblatt posted October 30, 2017 on the Lion’s Roar web site.

September 25, 2017

Remembrance of Hilary Parsons and Lin Zenki

by Diane Miller and Basya Petnick

Hilary Parsons
Shin Ke Rei Gen
Deep River―Spiritual Source
January 1, 1949 – August 19, 2017

Lin Zenki
Kan Shin Zen Ki
Generous Heart―The Whole Works
October 28, 1951 – August 28, 2017

Hilary Parsons and Lin Zenki were passionate women. They were lovers―loving each other, their community of friends, and their lives in practice. They were also fighters―New Age warriors fighting for social justice as nurses, political activists, and as practitioners.

Hilary’s practice began with martial arts and then evolved when she became a student of Ruth Dennison. Lin’s practice began in her college years with Francis Cook at UC Riverside. It was the night shift on an oncology ward where Hilary and Lin’s relationship began and so did their joint devotion to the dharma. They lived and practiced together at San Francisco Zen Center for many years.

Their nursing careers followed the course of the AIDS epidemic. Lin was one of the first nurses to care for patients with this mystery disease. She, along with other UCSF nurses, were recognized in And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic, a book by Randy Shilts that was made into a film. Lin later worked with HIV prevention programs for heroin addicts. But as her health weakened and she could no longer do hands–on nursing care, Lin transitioned to a case management program for patients with complex medical problems. However, taking her difficulties in stride, she kept working and learning and earned her MSN in nursing from Holy Names University.

read more…

September 30, 2016

Celebrating Lee in the Hamilton Ballroom 10/9

You’re Invited!



Ninsen Kashin (River of Patience, Singing Heart)
December 9, 1937 – August 17, 2016


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2016, 2 – 5 pm
631 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco CA
between Hyde & Leavenworth

It was Lee’s wish that upon her death, her community of family, friends, colleagues, students,
dharma brothers and sisters, volunteers, teachers, and medical caregivers would be invited to
gather in a spirited celebration of her life – with music, laughter, frivolity, storytelling,
delicious snacks, and, of course, CHOCOLATE AND COOKIES!
Please bring a favorite photo and come write a note with a precious memory of Lee, as a gift for her
baby great-grandson Aiden – so he may know his great-grandmother through your eyes when he grows up.


If you plan to attend, kindly email your name to

August 29, 2016

Larry Yang Remembers Lee Lipp

Larry Yang - stephen pickard

Larry Yang. Photo: Stephen Pickard

Remembering Lee Lipp

I remember meeting Lee Lipp in the early 2000’s when some of us practitioners of color and our white allies created a few “Diversity as Practice” events both at San Francisco Zen Center and in the East Bay. These memories also reminded me of how long and how deep Lee’s commitment was to the practices of inclusion, multiculturalism, and anti-racism within the total context of the Dharma. She was an ardent ally, maybe because of what she said, what she believed, but even more than that, because of how she moved and acted in the world. She fully understood and felt how intention-of-heart connects to action-in-world connects to impact-on-others. Her felt understanding allowed the beautiful qualities of humility and leadership to emerge simultaneously and blend seamlessly with how she was in the world.

Along with having her clinical private practice, her dedication to supervise interns and clinicians at the Haight Ashbury Clinic, and serving on the Board of Buddhist Peace Fellowship, she involved herself in anti-racism work and diversifying the reach of the dharma by being involved with the efforts at both San Francisco Zen Center and Spirit Rock Meditation Center for over 15 years. She contributed to multicultural teaching teams at East Bay Meditation Center where she brought her deeply impactful work of Transforming Depression and Anxiety workshops to diverse communities. She also assisted EBMC by managing and coordinating their Continuing Education Unit program.


Lee leading her “Befriending Your Pain” class

From 2000-2005, Lee was the Diversity Coordinator of SF Zen Center’s Outreach program. She worked with the Diversity Committee at Spirit Rock to coordinate daylong retreats on diversity and anti-racism work that were joint ventures by both SF Zen Center and Spirit Rock. In 2007, when the Diversity Coordinator position became further woven into the Zen Center infrastructure by being moved into the Abbot’s office, Lee once again filled that role. She wrote in one 2008 report:

“A widening of focus from racism to include study of other isms has resulted in growing interest in these efforts from a greater number of people, and more enthusiasm for addressing racism. Students and staff in various locations have formed ongoing groups looking at isms. SFZC is providing Staff with conflict resolution training and empathy-building training. Tassajara recently completed a three-day diversity training and some staff from Tassajara, GGF, and City Center completed two days of empathy training. More teachers of different traditions now being invited to teach, with workshops for POC, LGBTQIQ, youth, and other specialized classes and events.”

In 2012, Lee graduated from the fourth iteration of Spirit Rock’s Community Dharma Leaders training program which was ground-breaking in its diverse demographics and intention to serve diverse communities. She was totally in her element and was a deeply engaged participant and resource to both the training group and the training team.

Thank you, Lee, for being such an ardent ally who has been consistent in bridging the difficult complexities of culture and identity across space, time, and lineage. But even more, I bow to you as a precious member of family. You are dearly missed.

With much love,

Larry Yang

August 19, 2016

Lee Lipp’s Last Dharma Talk: Bodhisattvas/Angels – Relating to Cancer


Bodhisattvas/Angels – Relating to Cancer, the last dharma talk given by Lee Lipp, was on April 27, 2016, at City Center. You can listen here.

August 18, 2016

Photographs of Lee Lipp

Here are some photos of Lee Lipp by Shundo David Haye.


Lee, center, in the City Center courtyard with her Shuso’s fan after her Shuso Ceremony in 2013. With her are, left, Marsha Angus, and right, then-Abbess Kiku Christina Lehnherr, who led the practice period. Photo: Shundo David Haye.


Lee with her dear friend David Zimmerman, left, after her Shuso Ceremony in 2013. Photo: Shundo David Haye.


Lee’s familiar smile. Photo: Shundo David Haye

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