Back Porch Home  see our zendo  
Buddhamama burl

Elizabeth Sawyer cuke page

Reverend Elizabeth Sawyer - Interfaith Minister- Lay Ordained Buddhist 

  As an Interfaith Minister, I am dedicated to facilitating respect and communication between different faith traditions as well as different non religious spiritual viewpoints.  

My specialty is:  Co-creating interdenominational and nondenominational ceremonies and services, (weddings, funerals, blessings, etc). 

Singing is a part of my ministry and devotional practice.  I sing for events both public and private.  I play the harmonium and lead singing.  I belong to the Threshold Choir.  Among other things, we sing with women inmates in the Marin County Jail every Friday. 

I have a personal background and expertise in medical systems consumer issues in the Kaiser system especially with respect to chronic illness and crises related medical problems.  Because of my son Jonathan, I have  a lot of experience with the issues of the handicapped.  I am available as a pro bono medical consultant/specialist.   

I am a 35 year practitioner of Zen Buddhism in the line of Suzuki-roshi.  I was in residence a the San Francisco Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for 1 total of 17 years.  I have formally studied with Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, Dainen Katagiri-roshi, Zentatsu Baker-roshi, Tenshin Reb Anderson,  and Zoketsu Norman Fischer.  I am a lay Buddhist teacher.  I co facilitate a regular Zen Sitting/discussion group once a week at my home in Sebastopol at Back Porch Zendo which I founded in 2004.  I give informal dharma talks/classes to small groups in a circular or traditional Soto Zen format. 

I conduct short Personal Practice Periods for people who want to enliven their sitting practice, study with others and commit to a specific schedule and duration.  The individual tailors their commitment/schedule according to practice and health needs and practical considerations.  

I studied and practiced Ashtanga Yoga with Baba Hari Dass intensively, (before Mount Madonna was founded).  Ma Renu was my first Spiritual Mother.  She was the benefactress of many spiritual ventures including Mount Madonna and many books and projects of Babaji's.  I was apprentice and protégé to Sedonia Cahill, who taught me co-creation, vision quest, circular egalitarian earth/Divine Feminine based forms. 

I teach at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley at the Grace North Church.  I have offices in Sebastopol and San Rafael where I do Spiritual Direction, Zen style Buddhist counseling and supervision of Spiritual Directors from the Chaplaincy Institute.        

Please feel free to contact me at BPZ Facebook page

And here's a note from her to me, DC, that elaborates more on what she's offering.

Dear David, 

Thank you for your support. I like to work with people who are motivated and want to be in contact with their own spirit and healing capabilities, but I am open to whomever and what ever crosses my path.  I am good at referring and not taking on too much or a situation that I am not suited for.     

RE Spiritual Direction:  I usually start with three bows to Buddha, Dharma,& Sangha then bow to one another.  Then we sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  I ring a bell to start and end the sitting.  I often ask the person to bring a reading or prayer or song as an invocation....opening or closing to the session.  I also bring something that seems current with the person for the opening or closing and play it by ear.  I always ask if there is a request or a need and am happy to depart from this formality.  

In San Rafael I plan to have one to one sessions and wish to also hostsome kind of ongoing dreamwork group (Now that Jeremy Taylor my dream work mentor, is in San Rafael, maybe he would come and do a class there.  I also will sponsor/give at least one class in the basic principle of Alchemy.  I want to teach the process by making a beaded bracelet (I learned this from Louise Pryor) that acts as a beautiful learning aid re the stages of alchemy (to remember) with the participants and learn along with them from Megan Wagner, who is my spiritual director and supervisor.  We'll see what develops. 

My office space is at 1299 4th street, a six story office building complex right above a gym and across the street from Open Secret Bookstore.  My friend and fellow Buddhist practitioneer, Gina Inez has her homeopathic office there.  She was my reference.



Contact Elizabeth Sawyer at

BPZ Facebook page

3533 Hillcrest Ave. Sebastopol, CA 95472

11-04-14 - A week ago or so Daya Goldschlag sent an email about Elizabeth Sawyer's recent shuso ceremony in Sonoma County at the Back Porch Zendo.

this site is for now part of