September 19 to December 19

Theme: Gassho

Welcome to the 2020 Fall Practice Period!

This Fall your home is the main setting for the Practice Period. ZCLA programs will continue as a hybrid of the restricted Zendo space and your home space, all weaving together through the ZCLA Live Zoom room. The Covid-19 Pandemic, climate crisis, and the racial and social unrest in the United States are major ingredients of the practice environment. Each of us may also have personal situations of health, work, and family that are particularly challenging.

Given all these circumstances interweaving throughout our daily lives, the theme this year is Gassho.

The participating Sanghas are: Zen Center of Los Angeles, the San Luis Obispo Zen Circle, and The Westchester Zen Circle in Los Angeles. The teaching team, led by Head Teacher Roshi Egyoku, is pictured on this page. They are ready to support your practice throughout the ninety days.

Please read this entire page (you may also view this page as a PDF here) and then use the link below to fill out your Commitment Form (and watch a video on gassho). Thank you!

What is Gassho?

Gassho is the act of placing your two palms together without a gap between your two hands. When we are in a state of gassho, all opposites are unified as one. The practice is to keep closing the gaps between yourself and everything else. For example, you gassho to remember that there is no gap between your home and your place of practice; no gap between yourself and differing points of view; no gap between you and the Buddhas, no gap between the past and the future; no gap between you and your unhoused neighbors, and so on. Whatever you encounter, bring it together with yourself in the here and now of gassho.

Gassho is also a gesture of greeting and respect. It also acknowledges an offering and is in itself an offering of gratitude and appreciation. As you consider the practice of gassho in the coming months and anchor yourself in it, you may consider these possible ways to practice gassho at home:

  • Before turning on and off your computer.
  • Upon entering a room and upon leaving.
  • Before and after your meals.
  • Upon greeting your partner and children.
  • Before using a cooking pot.
  • After using the bathroom.
  • When getting into your car.
  • Before placing trash into the garbage.

Let’s be creative and affirm the essential no-gap nature of our lives.


You are invited and encouraged to attend the ceremonies for the Practice Period Entering and the Head Trainee Leave-taking and Entering on Saturday morning, September 19th. Zendo attendance will be limited due to the Pandemic. The Sangha will attend via the ZCLA Live Zoom room. Details will be sent by the Program Steward. The Closing Ceremony will be on December 19th.

Head Trainee Rosa Ando Martinez

Ando, the 2019-2020 Head Trainee, will formally exit her position on Saturday, September 19th. Her Dharma Exchange will take place on Sunday, October 18th, at the end of the October sesshin. Thank you for your steadfast practice, Head Trainee Ando. The Sangha has been supported and inspired by your practice!

Nem Etsugen Bajra

Etsugen will enter as the 2020-2021 Head Trainee on September 19th. Etsugen is a long-time Zen practitioner and Resident member. He is the founder of Cal Soft Systems, a BCorporation, leads a sitting group at his office building, and instructs business leaders in zazen.

Shuso Christina Tchoren Carvalho

Tchoren, the Head Monk for 2019-2020, remains in Campinas, Brazil, due to the Pandemic. She continues her Zen training with Roshi Egyoku, serves the Campinas Sangha, and continues her practice throughout these difficult days in Brazil. We will see her again when the Pandemic ends.

Geoff Kanjō O’Quest

Kanjō will enter as the 2020-2021 Head Trainee for the San Luis Obispo Zen Circle on September 17th. Kanjō is a long-time member of the SLOZC Sangha and one of its most active participants. He will serve as their very first Head Trainee.


Entering Ceremony: September 19
Closing Ceremony: December 19
Head Trainee Dharma Exchange: October 18
Zazenkai: November 13 (Fri. eve) – 14 (Sat.)


Golden Wind: October 11 (Sun. eve) -18 (Sun.)
Rohatsu: December 6 (Sun. eve) – 12 (Sat.)
Year End: December 27 (Sun. eve) – 30* (Wed.)
(*not part of Fall Practice Period)

Days of Reflection (Saturday)

October 24
November 21
December 19

Householder Koan Class (Tuesday)

October 6, 20, 27
November 3, 10