Brush and Pen: A Workshop in Sumi-e Painting and Haiku

We will paint, write and combine the two arts in a single piece. Part of the workshop will be read and look at some of the great ink brush painters and haiku poets both modern and from long ago.


Michael Hofmann's artistic odyssey began in 1969 when he met and had an interview with a Japanese Zen monk who visited the University of California at Santa Barbara where Michael was majoring in Asian Studies and dabbling in sculpture. After graduating in '72, he set out for Kyoto to see the monk again. The monk welcomed him warmly the day he arrived and said (essentially), "Do I have a teacher for you!" The next day Michael was sitting at the feet of Jikihara Gyokusei, Zen priest and legendary sumi-e (traditional ink painting) master, who was to become his life-long mentor and friend.


After years of study as Jikihara's uchi deshi (live-in apprentice), Michael mastered the techniques of classical and Zen sumi-e painting and began to incorporate other media into his increasingly distinctive style. During his frequent journeys to Europe and North America to exhibit his works and teach sumi-e, he enjoyed collaborating with writers and artists in other fields. In recent years he has given classes at various cultural and educational centers, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum. 


Michael now lives in the North Bay and is a student of meditation and koans at Pacific Zen Institute.


Rachel Boughton is a koan teacher and director of the Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center. Her current passion is teaching beginners to meditate with koans and she has been writing about this over the last year in her blog She has been writing and reading haiku for many years and is interested in the many forms this poetic art takes.


Haiku, as snapshots of a present moment, are close relatives of koans. They can be refined, light, funny, earthy and deeply moving. She will talk about the basic form and features of a haiku poem and share a number of different examples from Basho to Jack Kerouac. We will have the chance to write our own.


Financial assistance available, we're glad to help, just ask. For more information or to ask for a scholarship contact the registrar for this event

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Count the Stars: A Practice of Your Own with Meditation and Koans with Rachel Boughton


This is a 6 session class for anyone who would like to delve into the practice of meditation and koans, and would like make that practice come naturally and easily. You don't need to be a beginner, although you can be. The class works for anyone who wants to go deeper into their own life, to have a greater appreciation and facility with the way things come and go, and with our own minds.


This class is an extension of the 4 week Meditation for Anyone class, including some of the same material but taking time to go further into koans and koan practice. It covers some of the material from the original Count the Stars koan class, with more emphasis on the basics of meditation.

Come as you are, you need no preparation to meditate. You will learn many different ways that you can have a meditation practice: sitting, standing, walking around, stopped in traffic, too busy to think straight, or at peace in the garden.

Here is meditation without having to believe in anything or having to do it right. You will learn some ancient wisdom and some practical tips and all the necessary pieces of a portable meditation practice that you can use wherever you go and in whatever life you have.


Instructor: Rachel Boughton has taught meditation for 15 years and been with Pacific Zen Institute since 2001.  She discovered meditation long ago, by a fortuitous accident when she was quite young, after reading a book and sending away for instructions. It worked and has been a fascinating adventure ever since.  For more information email santarosazen-(at)




Meditation and Koans Introduction: First Mondays 


If you've always wanted to learn to meditate or it only just occurred to you or you want to refresh your memory, this is a chance to get the simple directions, to ask questions and perhaps to set down the burdensome question of "am I doing this right?"


On the first Monday evening of every month, we will be offering this class at the Santa Rosa Creek Zendo from 6 to 7pm.


What is meditation? How can I have a regular practice? What do koans have to do with it? This event is free of charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. If you would like more information or to reserve a spot email