Recalling Wind Bell: The Best of Zen Ephemera

Recalling Wind Bell: The Best of Zen Ephemera December 2, 2021




Sixty years. Oh, my.

Sixty years ago today, the 2nd of December, in 1961, the San Francisco Zen Center published the first issue of Wind Bell.

An unsigned article from tells us:

“From its humble single-sheet newsletter beginnings on December 2, 1961, prior to San Francisco Zen Center’s incorporation, over the decades Wind Bell has grown into a much admired chronicle not just of Zen Center but of emerging Western Buddhism. Library Journal has praised Wind Bell as a resource containing “some of the most profound and useful writings available on Zen practice.”

“Known by many readers in its semiannual incarnation, Wind Bell has varied over the decades in both publishing schedule and emphasis, but has always reemerged to express the activity of practice through Zen Center’s teachings, ceremonies, community news, and daily life.”

There was a small forest of such periodicals throughout the Zen world at the explosion of convert Zen in the West. The seemed to co-arise with the first Zen centers. The they were important ephemera, including pointers on practice to vegetarian recipes, as well as the news of the day.

Of these, few had the staying power or the depth that Wind Bell consistently offered.

A treasure.

Michael Wenger edited the “best of” Wind Bell as Wind Bell: Teachings from the San Francisco Zen Center – 1968-2001. It is well worth checking out.

David Chadwick’s magisterial has archived a great deal of the Wind Bell materials, including here the first thirteen issues.

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