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30 Days of Zen: Kannon and Zen Compassion

30 Days of Zen – Kannon and Zen Compassion

November 6 – December 3 2023

Deepen your practice through 30 days of Zen training including daily meditation, sangha support, teachings from past Zen Masters, and live weekly workshops. 

This course will highlight the pervasiveness of compassion in Zen. “Kannon” is also known as Kanzeon, Kuan Yin, Chenrezig, Avalokiteshvara, Kwanseum, etc.: the Bodhisattva of compassion who “hears the cries of the world” and responds with “a thousand hands and eyes.”

How it Works

Starting Nov 6, you will receive something every day to support your practice, including:
  • once a week a live gathering with a Mountain Cloud teacher
  • daily email with teachings, shared practices, and reflection questions.
  • optional daily community forum where you can reflect on the daily offerings in an online forum
  • option to join course participants and others at Mountain Cloud’s daily online sitting
With teachings from Mountain Cloud teachers, Sanbo Zen sources, and the larger body of Zen literature, we’ll explore the deep congruence – even identity – between clear illumination and unconditional welcome, between wisdom and compassion.  In shared practices and reflections, we’ll lean into the myriad, often unnoticed, expressions of support for being here; recall our fairly resplendent capacities to support others; and relax into the indistinctness of the two.  Finally, we’ll appreciate compassion’s breadth and brilliance all the more by in no way flattening out or hurrying past its stuff – namely suffering, alienation, fear, pain, oppression, in their unimaginable scale and piercing particularity.

When and Where

  • Live Workshops on Sundays 10:00 – 11:15 MST: November 12, 19 and 26 and December 3, with Valerie Forstman, Carolyn Seburn, Scott Thornton and Shana Smith. Workshops take place on Zoom and will be recorded and shared for those unable to participate live.
  • Daily Teaching & Reflection Prompts Via Email
  • Daily Community Forum on Mighty Networks Forum

What it’s all about

As winter comes (in the northern hemisphere), join us for a rich period of shared practice, grounded in support and connection and highlighting the theme of compassion in Zen.

Zen can give the impression of emphasizing sharp insight over compassion or tenderness. Perhaps this is in part due to its instinct for the implicit: while compassion truly pervades Zen in all directions, this can get conveyed rather subtly or mischievously. (Though make no mistake, Zen abounds in explicit compassion teachings, too).

If you’ve wanted to get on track with a steady meditation practice, tryout the Zen path, or engage more deeply with sangha, this is for you.

This program answers a call from our community to make the path of Zen training accessible online, both for those deep on the path, and those curious to try it out. We’ve designed a program that effectively embodies the Three Treasures of Zen practice (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha), the lay practice orientation of Sanbo Zen, and the lens of wonder and compassion that our Sanbo leaders embody in their guidance.

Cost of Program:

  • $99 *
  • $198 (This benefactor amount covers your registration & a sliding scale recipient)
  • Sliding Scale is available. Contact Kieran for details.


Valerie Forstman is an Associate Zen Master of the Sanbo Zen lineage. Her first teacher, with whom she continues to work, was Ruben Habito Roshi. Since 2003, she has also trained under the guidance of Yamada Ryoun Roshi, current abbot of SanboZen. Valerie joins Mountain Cloud with a shared vision of the core of the Zen path, a way of coming home to who we truly are. This includes koan training, “just sitting” practice, and breath awareness practice, and what it means to undergo the immense change of heart implied by the term “awakening.” What a joy and what a long road it can be, not just to taste this, but to embody it and live it out in lives of compassionate service.

Carolyn Seburn is a Zen teacher and authorized Dharma successor of Roselyn Stone (Sei’un An – Clearing Away the Clouds) Rôshi of the Mountain Moon Sangha (Toronto and Brisbane). She has been practicing Zen meditation since 1985 and guiding Zen practice since 2015. Married, with one offspring, Carolyn is also a biologist and public servant who focuses on wildlife conservation. Carolyn is also appointed a Zen teacher with Sanbo Zen International and is on the teaching staff of Mountain Cloud Zen Center.


Scott Thornton is an Assistant Teacher in the Sanbo Zen lineage. He has been a student of Ruben Habito Roshi for 22 years at The Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas, TX, and soon will be moving to Santa Fe to practice at Mountain Cloud and to direct its Residents Program.  He has been a Clinical Psychologist for 34 years. His first career was in Theater, and he is still an active singer/songwriter and performer.


Shana Smith
discovered yoga in 1990 and began attending regular classes in several different styles of yoga After several years of ardent practice and study, she began to teach at her local studio and Yoga Temple.  Shana became interested in the sensations and insights she experienced in Savasana, which led her to begin a regular meditation practice and in 2007 took refuge in the Sanbo Zen Lineage, and recently become a Sanbo Zen Assistant teacher.  Over the years, she has found a tremendous synergy between Yoga and Zen, and integrates the two in her daily, committed practice.

If you have questions about this program or are interested in financial support, contact Kieran.

30 Days of Zen: Kannon

Register for 30 Days of Zen

  • e.g. friend, web-search, teacher, book, etc
  • $0.00

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash

November 6
December 3
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