The Community page is where sangha members can post self-organizing sangha participant activities such as hikes, picnics, outings, etc.  These activities are not initiated nor officially sponsored by Upaya Sangha of Tucson LLC.

If you would like to post an event, please send an email to Sensei Al Genkai Kaszniak with the title, event description, date of the event, where to meet, how to contact you, etc.


Bill Thompson’s Art & Poetry

Click here to see Bill Thompson’s art and read his poetry.


New Announcements:


Dharma Relief, a project of the Tallahassee Chan Center

A new organization-fueled effort seeks to bring Buddhists together for a relief project “in an effort to generate the resources to help our healthcare workers,” starting with FDA-approved facemasks.

The Tallahassee Chan Center, a part of Dharma Drum Chan lineage, has launched a COVID-19 relief project in an effort to help the critical shortageof medical supplies and personal protective equipment in hospitals across the United States.

Titled “Dharma Relief,” the project encourages “all Buddhists to come together in an effort to generate the resources to help our healthcare workers.” The organization is focusing on sourcing face masks through their network of Chinese Buddhists, which are in high demand nationwide with lag of several weeks before US manufacturers can meet the demand. They have been able to source and import “substantial quantities” of FDA-approved masks manufactured in China, which are otherwise not being shipped to the United States.

The project has already ordered 140,000 surgical masks to be distributed to hospitals and shelters in New York and New Jersey areas. They plan to order more to help the rest of North America, and ask that Dharma centers and individuals volunteer to coordinate and help distribute masks in their area. To help purchase the masks, the Tallahassee Chan Center is now calling for donations and assistance with coordination. Information on how to help can be found on their website.

If you are a medical professional or have contacts (nurses/doctors) within a major hospital, please fill this form so we can send masks to your hospital (depending on supply).  We’ve been having a hard time tracking down actual shipping addresses at major hospitals, but have found that nurses/doctors within hospitals usually can provide that info.

Due to shortages of the official N95 respirators, with the CDC’s order to reuse old ones, nearly all hospitals are now accepting other types of masks. In addition to the US government’s recent purchase of PPEs, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association (DDMBA) purchased 140,000 surgical masks from China to be distributed to hospitals and shelters in the NY and NJ areas, two of the worst hit regions according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We need to order much more if we are to help the rest of North America during this time lagged shortage. Here’s how you can help:


Projected fundraising aim is $100,000 USD to purchase a large quantity of FDA approved surgical masks.

Tallahassee Chan Center (501c NPO), on behalf of Dharma Drum Retreat Center, will serve as the acting mediator of this Dharma Relief Project to accept donations. 100% of your donation will be used to purchase and ship the masks. We have already vetted a manufacturer in mainland China whose products are approved by the FDA.

We have people on the ground in China to secure quality control. Each mask will cost us $.55 including shipping, but the shipping rate is rising daily. Each recipient institution will receive one box of 2,000 masks. Our aim is purchase approximately 300,000 masks to be distributed to different hospitals in North America.

Please specify in your donation as “Dharma Relief COVID-19” and make your donation to:

Tallahassee Chan Center, 1310 N. Paul Russell Rd. 1310 Paul Russell Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Tel: 850-888-2616.

Suntrust Bank. 3522 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee FL 32309. Tel: 850-907-5172.

Domestic wiring routing number: 063102152; international wiring Swift code: SNTRUS3A; account number (IBAN): 1000158875277.



We need volunteering Dharma centers to help spread the word of this project. We hope that Dharma centers and individuals can act as satellite points in coordinating the distribution of masks. For accountability purposes, the volunteering Dharma centers and individuals will follow our procedure for contacting the recipient hospitals or other institutions and follow their protocols for receiving donations. Please contact Sara or Gita at if you wish to help. They will provide detailed instructions on the coordination procedure.



New Weekly Meditation Opportunity

Note: Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Until Further Notice


Sangha participant and long-time Zen practitioner, Merrill Collett has graciously volunteered to hold a group meditation practice session from 5:30 – 6:10 pm each Thursday at the new TCMC building (1147 N. Howard).  

Merrill began practicing at Berkeley Zen Center in 1989 and received the precepts from Abbot Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi two years later. Following that he lived at San Francisco Zen Center and at its Tassajara monastery for eight years. During this time he worked as a hospice volunteer and wrote the book At Home With Dying, a Zen Hospice Approach (Shambhala, 1991). In addition, he has sat retreats with the One Drop Zen Community (Rinzai) on Whidbey Island in Washington, Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon, Upaya Zen Center in New Mexico, and Wat Suan Mok Phalaram in Thailand.


Room Rental or Work Exchange

My friend is offering a room in her 2-bedroom house in a quiet and safe environment near Aqua Vita (Glenn and Country Club). Lucy has chemical sensitivity and some other health issues. She’s bright, kind, trained in Reiki, upbeat, fun, and easy to be around. Here is her notice, and thank you for posting it and keeping it in mind:

Room Rental or Partial Exchange

Prefer a person who is:

maybe meditates
eats healthy
no smoking
no drinking
no perfumes, mold, or chemicals
Please call 520-369-3120


Steve Ross, M.A., L.M.F.T. (CA)
Mindful Counseling & Consulting
(520) 825-2009


New Meditation Center Looking for Teachers & Scheduling Manager

Kintsugi Yoga and Meditation Center is looking for teachers and a scheduling manager. Many possibilities, considering conditions. The center will open between Jan and Mar 2020. Location is 1234 E. 16th St. Contact Tim Clark at


Two New Support Groups at TCMC

TCMC is now offering two practitioner-oriented interactive support groups, meeting on the first Sunday: one for cancer support, the other for grief support.

  • SARANA Cancer Support is open to anyone dealing with, or affected by, cancer, at any time, for any reason. Dealing with a life-threatening illness, especially cancer, is a physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually complex, traumatic situation. Everyone involved needs support, but it’s not always easy to find. especially in a spiritually supportive environment. It can be helpful being with people who “get it,” people with whom no one needs to explain anything. And hearing the differing perspectives of those in the room can be eye-opening. Sarana will meet on the first Sunday of each month, from 12:30pm – 2:00pm, just after the Sitting Together program. Each meeting will start and end with a few minutes of silent meditation. Sarana is a Pali word for “refuge” or “shelter.”
  • SANTIKARA Grief Support is open to anyone dealing with grief and loss of any kind, whether current or from time past. Santikara will meet every first Sunday of the month for 90 minutes, from 2:30pm-4:00pm. Each meeting will start and end with a few minutes of silent meditation. “Santikara” means “soothing” in Pali.

Neither of these groups will have an agenda, except what each person brings to the group. We’ll have basic guidelines, which we’ll review at the beginning of each meeting, and a facilitator to keep things on track, but that is the extent of any formal structure.


Facilitator contact information:
Steve Ross, MA, LMFT (CA): (520) 825-2009 or
Sen Talley:  520.989.3347 or


Need Help in Finding a House in Arizona (Tucson or Flagstaff) to Hold 2020 Buddhist Election Retreat

If you have a lead on a house in or near Tucson or Flagstaff, please email Stan Dewey ( or Ed Herzog and be sure to type “House in Arizona” on the subject line.

If you’d like to help us find a house, please consider the following:

Our goal is to find a house with 3+ bedrooms, for 18 days:

• Move-in day, Sunday October 18, 2020

• Retreat duration Monday, October 19 through Tuesday November 3

• Move-out day Wednesday November 4, 2020

Qualities of Ideal House:

• Good kitchen: sink, stove/oven, refrigerator. Food storage. Place for coffee/tea/water. Counter space.

• Dining room. Seating for 12-18 at one or more tables.

• Room we can use as a meditation space (zendo) for about 12+ folks.

• Sleeping spaces: bedrooms, living room, couches, (zendo).

• At least two bathrooms, at least one with a shower.

• Yard suitable for a couple of tents.

• On-street parking for up to 8 cars.

It is also helpful if there are satellite sleeping spaces nearby: for example, hotels and guest bedrooms in sympathetic homes, church basements, etc. Often the host family vacates the house, but occasionally has lived in it with us, in fewer rooms.

An ideal location would be close to local Democratic headquarters.

Possibilities may include:

• Farmhouses; Empty houses in foreclosure; Houses for rent; Summer houses; Live-work warehouse spaces; empty houses that are for sale or will shortly be brought to market; Community facilities; And so on . . .

People who might offer us leads for houses may be: Local Buddhists; Local Democratic party; Swing Left, Indivisible, Emily’s List, or other progressive organizations; Faith groups, including Unitarian, Quaker, etc.; Real estate agents, banks; Arts groups; Friends of friends . . .


Sangha Care Support Volunteers

While there are many resources both for hire and formal volunteer programs through Neighbors Care Alliances across Tucson (contact Pima Council on Aging 790-7262), a few of our regular sangha participants have offered their limited availability to help their fellow sangha participants if something unexpected arises where they need some additional help which might include a friendly visit or phone call, assistance with errands, meal delivery, etc.  Please send an email to <> with questions or requests.  We might be able to help you either find existing community resources or do a little limited assistance.  Take care.


Upaya Hiking Club
Our Sangha has initiated a hiking club. We will meet on the 3rd Sunday morning of each month, October through April. The hikes will last about 2 hours, with about 30 minutes dedicated to silent walking, or seated meditation if we find a nice spot to sit. Please check the Upaya calendar or contact Dawn Messer at or text 520-975-4839 for location and exact meeting time.


Finding Goodness in Everyone:  Volunteer Opportunity at Tucson State Prison

My name is Marge Houy, and am currently teaching a new 10-session course in the minimum security unit at the Tucson State Prison on S. Wilmot Road.  Because it has been so well received by the participants and prison staff, I am seeking additional volunteers so that the course can be offered to more inmates.  The course, called The Path of Freedom, was developed by a former federal prison inmate and teaches participants emotional intelligence skills, including self-awareness, self-control and social awareness.

This course is different from others taught in prisons because it also includes meditation training, which is the bedrock for learning the other skills.  This course is currently being taught in prisons and jails in other states including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington State, and Arizona.  I have taught this course in Massachusetts and now in Arizona.  It is hard to describe how appreciative the participants are for the course materials and how personally gratifying it is to work with this under-served population.

I am interested in meeting with anyone who may be interested in learning more about the content of the course, the teacher training process, the nature of ongoing support provided to teachers.  More information about the Path of Freedom course can be found on the Prison Mindfulness Institute’s website at  Please note that there is a $295 tuition fee for the 6-week on-line training with scholarships available for up to half the cost.


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