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Sobun Katherine Thanas

Photo of Katherine Thanas

Katherine Thanas / Karin Sobun
March 17, 1927 – June 24 , 2012

Sobun Katherine Thanas, founder of the Monterey Bay Zen Center and student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Dainin Katagiri Roshi, Zentatsu Baker Roshi, and Tenshin Reb Anderson, died on June 24 surrounded by loved ones and disciples, after sustaining a head injury that had left her in a coma.

A memorial service was held at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts in Carmel on Tuesday, June 26.

A funeral ceremony was held at Santa Cruz Zen Center on Sunday, July 1, for the Santa Cruz Zen Center and Monterey Bay Zen Center sanghas, officiated by Katherine’s honshi, Tenshin Reb Anderson.

Weekly memorial services were held after zazen each Sunday night thru August 12 at the Santa Cruz Zen Center including the culminating Eye-Opening Ceremony and altar memorial tablet dedication August 12.

Monterey Bay Zen Center held a 49-day memorial on Tuesday August 14 following zazen at the Cherry Center. On Friday, August 24 at 6:25 am the Sobun Katherine Thanas Roshi Monthly Memorial Ceremony began in Santa Cruz.

A stupa dedication and sprinkling of ashes is planned at Tassajara in 2013.

Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony

Sunday, September 30 at 3pm
Green Gulch Farm

A memorial ceremony to honor Karin Sobun / Katherine Thanas, and marking 100 days since her passing from this world, will be held at Green Gulch Farm on Sunday, September 30, at 3pm.

Tenshin Reb Anderson will officiate. The ceremony will include planting a live oak tree on the hillside below the new student housing at Green Gulch Farm.

Everyone is invited. The ceremony will be followed by a reception.

For a biography, please visit the Katherine Thanas memorial page on the Santa Cruz Zen Center web site.

In lieu of flowers, her family and close friends have requested that donations be made to The Santa Cruz Zen Center, The Monterey Bay Zen Center or one of the many organizations she supported, listed at the bottom of the memorial page at SCZC.

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  1. Philip N / Jul 5 2012

    I was a student of Katherine about 15 years ago since then I moved away from SC to San Jose and did not see her since. I remembered her teachings well, in particular in one session where teacher and student sat face to face and had a question answer session. She was full of compassion and wisdom and in total concentration. She cut through the fluffs like a knife thru butter. I was in the middle of a divorce at that time I was in a lot of pain and confusion. She helped me so much with her teaching/compassion/wisdom. I am very grateful to have met Katherine and she made me a better person for that.
    Deep bow

  2. Dot Luce (Kostriken) / Jul 9 2012

    I was at Tassajara in 1967 at the first training; Kathy was a dorm mate, and sincere, but unlike me, not so fumbling. She seemed supremely self-contained, and self-confident, and unapproachable. Of course, that was my mis-reading, not really her, at all.
    In time, I was given a chance to see her laughter, rather sharp humor, and BIG MIND. I’ve always associated her with an older, wiser student to learn from, and am grateful for her kindness.

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