|Zenkei Blanche Hartman from Boundless Life: A Chronicle Dedicated to Zenkei Blanche Hartman|
Zenkei Blanche Hartman (1926-2016) was a Soto Zen teacher practicing in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. From 1996 to 2002 she served two terms as co-abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center. She was the first woman to assume such a leadership position at the center. A member of the American Zen Teachers Association, Blanche was especially known for her expertise in the ancient ritual of sewing a kesa, called Nyoho-e, the practice of sewing Zen ceremonial robes in the lineage of Sawaki Kodo Roshi, which she had learned during the 1970s from Kasai Joshin Sensei, formerly of Antaiji. She taught this unique form of Zen practice to hundreds of students at the San Francisco Zen Center, and played an important role in establishing the practice in North America.
|Lou and Blanche Wed from Boundless Life: |
A Chronicle Dedicated to Zenkei Blanche Hartman
In 1997 Blanch and Lou were both ordained as priests by Zentatsu Richard Baker, and Blanche was given the Buddhist name Zenkei, meaning inconceivable joy. In 1988 she received shiho from Sojun Mel Weitsman, and in 1996 she became installed as co-abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center. Zenkei Blanche was the first female abbess of the City Center, having served just after Tenshin Reb Anderson and Sojun Mel Weitsman. One reason Blanche accepted the position of co-abbess, serving two terms from 1996 to 2002, is that she understood the need for women to have a role model. Among others, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of "The Way of Tenderness," was a student of Zenkei Blanche Hartman, who ordained her in 2008.
To read the San Francisco Zen Center's obituary in memory of Zenkei Blanche please click here, as well as the blog, Boundless Life, dedicated to Zenkei Blanche's life.
- Lion's Roar, Good Evening, Bodhisattva
- Lion's Roar, This Life Which is Wonderful and Evanescent
- Tricycle, The Zen of Not Knowing
- Tricycle, Zen Practice Each Moment
- Shambhala Press, Seeds for a Boundless Life