Body-Mind Zen Temple
Body-Mind Zen Temple (ShinJinJi from Dogen’s Shobogenzo), has joined its sister temple, Peaceful Dragon (AnRyuJi), in Westhampton, Massachusetts. Body-Mind Zen Temple gazed down the comings and goings of Main Street, Northampton, sitting with traffic noise, street musicians and the conversations of passers by. Now, this former urban temple, is being embraced by tall trees, the sounds of crickets, birds, chipmunks, and the occasional visits of bears in the woods of rural New England.
Prior to the founding of Two Streams Zen, Body-Mind Zen Temple was known as The Zen Center on Main Street or “Zen on Main”. In it previous incarnation, Zen on Main was an affiliate of The Village Zendo in New York City, pioneering the only dedicated sitting meditation space in Northampton for many years.
Dr. Catherine Anraku Hondorp, Sensei is an authorized Zen teacher in the lineage of Maezumi Roshi, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest and co-founder with her spouse Ryūmon Hilda Baldoquín Sensei of Two Streams Zen.
Her dharma teachings are rooted in a life of spiritual questioning, a trust in the embodied process of liberation and a deep gratitude for the privileges and resources she enjoys in living free, safe and surrounded by the natural world.
Anraku Sensei’s resolve to heal the wounds of racism stem from her experience of growing up White in a northeastern U.S. urban Black ghetto. She was born the eldest daughter of a Dutch Reformed preacher father and opera singing school teacher mother who raised a multiracial family while active in the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950’s and 1960’s. Her sincere spiritual search for the meaning of life while struggling to makes sense of her emerging identity as queer, artist/dancer/choreographer, social activist eventually brought her to the path of zen. Her life experience bolstered her commitment to resolve social inequity and practice a life of love and service. In Zen practice she saw that the Buddha’s path of awakening could not be separated from the real work of transforming the historical legacy of racial oppression, which lives in both our singular and collective body.
Her spiritual quest began with her disappointment in the Christian church and it’s ability to answer her life’s questions. As a 19 year old, following a brief, sobering 3 week recruitment by a religious cult, she resolved to never again be led astray by religious teachers or spiritual teachings.
In the early 1980’s she was introduced to meditation, ‘energy’ and improvisational movement by Calvin Holt, a devotee of Swami Muktananda, student of Gurdjieff and an ice-cream entrepreneur.
In 1987 Catherine met Zen Teacher John Daido Loori Roshi at Zen Mountain Monastery. On proclaiming, “I do not believe anyone can teach me anything”, Daido responded, “If you meet someone who says that they are going to teach you anything, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction”. With this ‘question everything’ approach, she decided that Zen was the way for her to find the answers she was seeking for herself. With Daido Roshi she received the Buddhist Precepts and the Dharma Name Eishun (Eternal Spring). In 1996 she became a student of Enkyo O’Hara Roshi with whom she took ‘home leaving vows’ (priest ordination) and received the name Anraku (Peace Bliss). In December 2009 Anraku received Dharma Transmission in the lineage of Maezumi Roshi from Roshi O’Hara at Wisdom House in Litchfield, Connecticut.
Fatefully in 2003, Anraku walked late into a presentation in the basement of Edwards Church in Northampton, Massachusetts given by a Latina Zen priest from California. As bald-headed Zen priests from different Buddhist lineages, they became fast dharma friends and colleagues. Little would they each know that in eight years Two Streams Zen would be born and in ten years they would be married.
Prior to and concurrent with Zen practice, Anraku passionately pursued a 20 year career as a modern dancer and choreographer in New York City. During this time she received an MFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Continuing her studies of the body, she went on to become a chiropractor graduating from Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Missouri in 1995. She is a master practitioner of Network Spinal Analysis and the Quantum energetic healing approach of Dr. Donald Epstein. Her private practice The Life Center for Network Care has provided expert accessible care over the course of 16 years to the community surrounding Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2013, she completed the 3 year clinical training program in the trauma healing modality, Somatic Experiencing® developed by Peter Levine, Phd and is certified as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner® assisting with trainings in the United States and Canada.
As a novice gardener, avid dog lover, writer of prose, temple priest and in all her manifestations, Anraku practices daily the core values of Two Streams Zen with her family and beloved spouse Ryūmon.