Electronic Journal from Sakyadhita USA

2017 Conference Program Issue No. 13


Sakyadhita USA 2017 Conference

Co-Sponsored by University of the West


A One-Day Conference

Saturday, April 1, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


At University of the West

Ken Locke Hall

1409 N. Walnut Grove Avenue

Rosemead, CA 91770

(about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles)


Diversity in the Dharma:

Buddhist Women Engage Race

and Exclusionary Politics in America



Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin


Myokei Caine-Barrett currently holds the position of Bishop of the Nichiren Shu Buddhist Order of North America. She is the first woman and first American to hold this position. She is also guiding teacher and priest of Myoken-ji Temple in Houston, which is home to the Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas.


Myokei Shonin received priest ordination and dharma transmission from Ryuoh Michael Faulconer Shonin and is a lineage holder in Nichiren Shu Buddhism. She received final ordination at Kuon-ji Temple at Mt. Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan by Archbishop Nissho Uchino. Myokei Shonin is the first American woman and first person of African American-Japanese descent to have com-pleted this ordination process.


Myokei Shonin currently volunteers with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as clergy to two prison sanghas. She has been engaged in this work for 15 years as a full expression of the Lotus Sutra as the teaching of equality. She is currently developing curriculum for [1] the Nichiren Shu tradition and the Lotus Sutra, and [2] dealing with the trauma of incarcer-ation and racism. She also supports weekend trainings for Healing Warrior Hearts, a Texas project designed to truly welcome veterans home. This projects is open to all veterans from the Vietnam era forward and also offers couple weekends to heal family dynamics.


Myokei Shonin is also engaged in mindful conflict management and is a 2015 graduate of Lee Mun Wah’s Stir-Fry Seminars in Berkeley. She has worked with the Center for Healing Racism in Houston for over 20 years to heal the disease of racism.


She has been published and featured in several publications such as Nichiren Shu News, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, & Buddhadharma. She is included in the Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-five Centuries of Awakened Buddhist Women.


Pamela Ayo Yetunde

J.D., M.A., Th.D.


Pamela Ayo Yetunde was the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Visiting Scholar-in-Residence at University of the West, Fall, 2016.  Ayo earned her Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.  She earned her M.A. in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University in Oakland, CA and her law degree from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.  Ayo is a pastoral counselor in private practice, and has also worked in spiritual care in hospital, hospice, and mental health care settings.  She is a Community Dharma Leader certified by Spirit Rock Medication Center in Woodacre, CA.


Ayo’s Th.D. dissertation “A New Spelling of Our Names: The Psycho-Spiritual Experiences of African-American Buddhist Lesbians,” included conversation partners Buddhist nun Ayya Khema and Black lesbian poet Audre Lorde, both of whom had breast cancer.  Examining the radically opposite ways Khema and Lorde dealt with the disease, Ayo later coined the phrase Religious Resistance to Cancer Treatment (RRCT), and developed several counseling considerations, as a way of helping pastoral and spiritual caregivers identify the intrapsychic dynamic.  Ayo presented RRCT at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society’s conference in 2016.


After the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, Ayo, who was working as a financial advisor, had her first two positive encounters with Buddhism – Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, where as a volunteer, she was also introduced to Buddhist spiritual care and meditation, and the book Touching Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, given to her as a birthday present.  These nearly coincidental positive encounters with Buddhism led Ayo away from personal finance and into spiritual care.


Ayo has written several essays for and articles for Lion’s Roar and Buddhadharma.  She is the author of three books on personal finance.



Against The Stream, Los Angeles

Mary Stancavage


Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for over 30 years. She began studying with Noah Levine in 2005, and in 2009 completed his first teacher training program. She currently serves as Director of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. In January 2016 she became Executive Director of the Mind Body Awareness Project in Oakland which teaches mindfulness and emotional awareness to incarcerated and at-risk youth.  She has taught meditation at recovery centers in Los Angeles, has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has a weekly class at ATS. She completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Mary sits on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network and is involved with the work of CLUE-LA (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice). In addition, Mary has a Masters from UCLA, and worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East.


Gabrielle Zhuang


Gabrielle Zhuang has been practicing with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society since 2007 and is a current participant in their Community Facilitator Training Program. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and in her last 9 years of service has worked with survivors of human trafficking, older adults with chronic mental illness, homeless children and families and Veterans.  She is currently the Adjunct Supervisor of The Relational Center, a community wellness center. Gabrielle is also the Assistant Director of the National Association of Social Workers Region-H.  She recently received an MA in Depth Psychology with an emphasis in Community, Liberation and Ecopsychology (CLE) from Pacifica Graduate Institute, her interest and emphasis in writing and research has been on the intersection of spirituality and social justice. Gabrielle also has a holds a small private practice in Mid-City and West LA


Amy Love, M.Ed.


Amy Love is a public school educator with 25 years of experience in the field. Her work in schools includes direct services with students as well as training and coaching other teachers. Amy is dedicated to bringing mindfulness into inner city public schools and has worked in that capacity for many years. Amy received her certification as a secular mindfulness teacher and trainer through Mindful Schools in Oakland, CA. She is also currently enrolled in facilitator training with Against the Stream Buddhist Mediation Society. Amy holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and African American studies from Howard University and a master's degree in  education from California State University Long Beach. Amy came to the Buddhist path after having practiced Islam with the Nation of Islam during her youth as well as Science of Mind. Amy sits regularly with Against the Stream’s People of Color and People of Color and Allies sanghas.


East Bay Meditation Center, Oakland, CA

Sierra Pickett


Sierra Pickett has a passion for accessible Sangha building. At the East Bay Meditation Center (EBMC) — a donation-based, social-justice Buddhist center that Jack Kornfield has called “the most diverse Sangha on the planet” — she has been serving as a long-time Coordinating Committee member of the People Of Color Sangha, a weekly sitting group offering safe(r) space for POC practitioners, and currently sits on the Programming Committee and Shared Leadership Council for EBMC at large. A recent addition to Buddhist Peace Fellowship's board of directors, Sierra is a web-weaver who sees networking as an intentional act of love connecting us together in reciprocal support. An American Sign Language interpreter by trade, she loves expanding linguistic and cultural accessibility within a social justice framework. Easily spotted in bright colors, Sierra's smile is contagious and will greet you readily.

JD Doyle


JD Doyle founded the East Bay LGBTQ meditation group that has grown into East Bay Meditation Center’s Alphabet Sangha for LGBTQI and same-gender loving practitioners. JD has been practicing for  20 years and participated in long retreats in the US, Thailand, and Burma.  They graduated from Spirit Rock’s Dedicated Practitioner Program (DPP2) and Community Dharma Leader program (CDL4), and will be starting the Spirit Rock Teacher Training program this year.  JD focuses their practice on developing inclusive, multiracial, multi-gendered sanghas that welcome and celebrate the breadth of humanity and the natural world.


Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Dawn Haney


Since joining the Buddhist Peace Fellowship team in 2011, Dawn Haney has upgraded BPF’s strategy, training programs, and operations. During her tenure, BPF has strengthened Buddhist-informed activism in social movements from Occupy to Black Lives Matter to indigenous-led fights for climate justice. She has co-developed trainings for white dharma practitioners to unlearn racism and become better allies for racial justice in their sanghas and communities. A Buddhist practitioner since 2003, Dawn’s social justice work drew her deeper into meditation with a desire to be stronger and more resilient in her work to heal trauma and oppression. Dawn is currently in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leaders (CDL5) training program, and finds her spiritual home at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California. You can find her online at


Funie Hsu, Ph.D.


Funie Hsu is an Assistant Professor of American Studies in the Humanities Department at San Jose State University. Her research interests include American empire, race, gender, knowledge construction, language, Buddhism, Taiwan, and animal studies. She received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley, an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a B.A. in Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis. Prior to her academic work, she was an elementary school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Funie also serves on the board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, a non-profit organization that has served as a catalyst for socially engaged Buddhism since 1978. She was raised in a Buddhist family and practices in the Chan tradition. Her public scholarship has been published in Buddhadharma and Turning Wheel Media.


San Francisco Zen Center

Eijun Linda Cutts (Central Abbess)


Eijun Linda Cutts came to San Francisco Zen Center in 1971 and was ordained as a priest in 1975. She has lived at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and San Francisco City Center, and has resided at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center since 1993. In 1996 Linda received dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson. Having served as Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center from 2000 to 2007, she was appointed Abiding Abbess of Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in 2010, and Central Abbess of SFZC in 2014. She continues to teach and lead practice periods and retreats at Tassajara, Green Gulch, Mexico, Italy and elsewhere, and has been leading Yoga-Zen retreats and workshops for many years. Linda is particularly devoted to the work of taking care of the environment and sits on the National Board of the Interfaith Power and Light (IPL), an interfaith group dedicated to addressing climate change through faith-based education and skillful action. Linda is also committed to bringing attention to the importance of being awake to our unconscious bias around diversity issues and is working with others to address these issues. She is also on the Board of the Consciousness, Mindfulness & Compassion (CM&C) International Association.


Linda Galijan


Shinchi Linda Galijan, Ph.D., was ordained by Sojun Mel Weitsman in 2004 and received Dharma Transmission from him in 2012.  She came to San Francisco Zen Center in 2002, and lived at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for many years, where she served as Director.  She currently serves as President of San Francisco Zen Center, and lives at City Center.  She was founding president of Zen Buddhist Sewing Teachers.  Prior to coming to SFZC, Linda has been a professional musician, a massage therapist, and a licensed clinical psychologist.




8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Registration


8:45 - 9:00 a.m.

Welcome, Introductions & Meditation


9:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Keynote Address by Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin


9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Dharma Group Presentations (& one short break)


11:00 - 12:30 p.m.

Vegetarian Luncheon (provided by University of the West)

Book Sales Table (provided by Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena)

Dharma-Inspired Art Show, Curated by Karen Gelinas


12:30 - 12:45 p.m.

Welcome Back & Meditation


12:45 - 1:15 p.m.

Keynote Address by Pamela Ayo Yetunde


1:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Dharma Group Presentations (& one break)


3:30 - 4:10 p.m.

Action Plan Development & Sharing


4:10 - 4:30 p.m.

Close, Dedication of Merit


6:00 p.m.

Post-conference Dinner at Bodhi Veggie Cuisine

Rosemead, CA

(prepay $35 at registration)




This is an All-Inclusive conference.

Lay and monastic women & men, of all ethnicities, from all lineages & traditions, all gender-identities, all who try to practice the Dharma, all who walk the paths of inclusiveness and long to heal our communities and our country, are invited to attend this conference. Please register via the button below.





Sakyadhita USA Encouraging Inclusion Across American Buddhisms

SUSA is the USA National Branch of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women

Sakyadhita USA

P. O. Box 1649, Ridgecrest, CA 93556