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6-29-10 - Announcing the Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at GGF

and Reb Anderson's decision not to accept that position.

At a meeting on June 28, 2010, the SFZC Board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution inviting Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts to be the Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center during the term of the trial abbatial restructuring, June 28, 2010 to September 1, 2011. We are pleased to announce that she has accepted the invitation. In her new role Linda joins Central Abbot Myogen Steve Stücky and City Center Abbot Ryushin Paul Haller in taking up the leadership responsibilities and authority during the trial restructuring of our abbacy as outlined in the resolution passed by the SFZC Board (see below).

The Elders Council on June 25 presented the following recommendation to the Board in support of Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts:

We are very happy to nominate Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts for Green Gulch Farm Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher. We feel that Linda is wonderfully suited to this position, having dedicated herself to the practice of zazen, the study of Buddhism and the community life of Zen Center for nearly forty years. Linda has been deeply involved in and supportive of the Widening the Circle campaign. She has a firm belief that the core residential practice at Zen Center be fully connected to the wider community of Zen Center and the world. We think that she will continue to be a tremendous benefit to Zen Center and look forward to her teaching in this role.

The abbatial restructuring was conceived to make the workload of each abbot more manageable, to make the abbots more accessible to students, to reduce overlapping authority between the abbots which makes decision-making cumbersome, and to clarify decision-making authority between the abbots, the President and other officers.

During the trial period the Board will assess the efficacy of the restructuring and decide by late summer 2011 whether the by-laws should be amended to provide for this restructured abbatial leadership. If so, they will take appropriate action and submit amended by-laws to the membership for approval.

If you would like to read the initial resolution in more detail, please visit the Governance section of our website, which provides in its entirety the Board’s Resolution for Abbatial Restructuring and the job descriptions for the new abbatial/Senior Dharma Teacher roles.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to speak with a Board member or either of us, please email David Zimmerman at

Here's a Message of 6/21/10 about Reb Anderson's turning that position down

Dear San Francisco Zen Center Members and Residents,

We wish to inform you of a change regarding the position of Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm. 

As you may recall, it was announced to the membership and residents at the end of April that the SFZC Board unanimously passed a resolution to enter into a trial period to explore a model for restructuring the Abbacy of San Francisco Zen Center. The restructuring created a Central Abbot position, filled by Myogen Steve Stücky; a City Center Abbot position, filled by Ryushin Paul Haller; and an Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm, to be filled through recommendation by the Council of Elders. 

The Council of Elders, after thoughtful consideration, recommended that Tenshin Reb Anderson be invited to fill the role of Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm. The Board supported the recommendation and extended the invitation to Tenshin Anderson after the April 21 Board meeting and he accepted the invitation.

On May 11, Tenshin Anderson requested a month to reconsider his decision. On June 16, 2010 the SFZC Board was informed that Tenshin Anderson had decided to decline the invitation. He provided the following statement:

Dear Board Members and Members of the Elders’ Council,

I’m deeply grateful to you for offering me the opportunity to serve the sangha in a new role. I also thank you for allowing me such a long time to consider the offer. I appreciate your patience and I sincerely apologize for any difficulties this long period of consideration may have caused. I am sorry to say that the causes and conditions have not come together for me to be able to accept this role.

With deep respect and appreciation,

Tenshin Zenki

The SFZC Board accepted Tenshin Anderson’s decision and requested that the Council of Elders convene within 10 days to identify a subsequent candidate to fill the role of Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm. The Board will hold a conference call on June 28 to consider and hopefully confirm a new candidate.

We will inform you as soon as the new Abiding Senior Dharma Teacher at Green Gulch Farm has been officially confirmed.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to speak with a Board member, the Board Chair, or anyone else involved in this process, please email David Zimmerman at

Ed Sattizahn
Board Chair
San Francisco Zen Center

David Zimmerman
Board Secretary
San Francisco Zen Center




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