Health Update: May 12, 2016

Hello Friends,

Today Blanche has begun the process of moving towards the end of her life. We are waiting for the family to all arrive, which should be happening tomorrow, later morning or early afternoon. After everyone is here, they will remove treatment and Blanche will begin palliative care. Blanche will stay where she is for now. She is very much at ease and peaceful.

Again we welcome chants, offerings and blessings in her honor, but request no visitors outside the family at this time.

Deep bows,
Great gratitude,

The Hartman Family

A Letter from Blanche’s Family About Her Health

Dear Friends,

I am sure you have heard by now that Zenkei Blanche Hartman Roshi is in the hospital, and has been since her 90th birthday on Sunday May 8th. We wanted to give you an update and let you know that she is being well tended and cared for.

She has a bacterial infection which has become systemic (meaning not located in simply one place). There is some fluid in her lungs and she is being treated with a wide spectrum antibiotic and it is possible she will respond well and recover. As I am sure you are aware, when someone is elderly, things aren’t always simple. Right now we are in a “wait and see” spot until whatever is next.

The family is very involved, as are Daigan and Victoria. At this time we welcome all blessings and offerings made on Blanche’s behalf, and cards are always welcome. We do request no visitors at this time.

As things progress we will of course keep you updated as things change.

Deep Bows
Great Gratitude

The Hartman Family

Update: August 25, 2015

Dear Friends,

In our last post, we mentioned that plans were developing for Blanche to move to a different assisted living facility where she could have a private room. Since that time, Blanche has talked further with her family and has decided she does not wish to move at this time.

From Blanche's 85th birthday (Photo: Daigan Gaither)

From Blanche’s 85th birthday
(Photo: Daigan Gaither)

After looking into it, she expressed concern about feeling isolated in a private apartment where she would spend most of her time. At AgeSong, where she lives currently, she feels she has made some good connections and enjoys her roommate. She said, “I have lived in community so long, that I want to stay in community.”

So, for now, Blanche will remain where she is. You may still send cards and letters to Zen Center, and we will see that she receives them. If you have any questions or concerns about Blanche or her current care, please contact Danielle Macias at 415.354.0378 or


Zesho Susan O’Connell
SFZC President

Update: August 11, 2015

Dear Friends,

We have received numerous inquiries from friends and students of our beloved Senior Dharma Teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman about how she’s doing, especially from those who live outside the Bay Area. We created this blog to ensure that those who care so deeply for Blanche are kept informed and updated as changes occur in her health and situation.

I’d like to share with you parts of a recent conversation Blanche had with Danielle Macias, who manages our human resources and retirement program, so that you can hear from Blanche herself. They talked last month at Age Song, the assisted living facility where Blanche currently lives.

Blanche said she wanted you all to know about her current condition and how she is faring with the changes in her life and body.

(Photo: Dawna Leigh)

(Photo: Dawna Leigh)

She says:

–    I have received, and someone reads to me, the cards that people have sent. I can’t respond to all of them, but I miss being with you a lot, and I love you. Don’t forget that even if you don’t hear personally from me that I love you.
–    I try to keep physically active, exercising my body in whatever way I can find to do in my bed, but my age has caught up with me. It hasn’t yet overtaken me—but we should be prepared for that.

I think that’s enough (for now).

Zen Center’s leadership both in the temple and in administration has been closely involved with the Hartman family in making decisions to ensure that Blanche is safe and cared for in a way that honors how she has shared so much of herself with so many.

Blanche’s family is now making plans to move Blanche to another assisted living facility in San Francisco where she can have a private room.  We’ll let you know when that happens on this blog.

In the meantime, if you’d like to send a card to Blanche, we will forward it on to her. Please send your cards or notes to:

Zenkei Blanche Hartman, San Francisco Zen Center, 300 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

If you have any questions or concerns about Blanche or her current care, please contact Danielle Macias at 415.354.0378 or


Rinso Ed Sattizahn
Abiding Abbot, City Center

About This Blog

Dear Friends of Zenkei,

Photo: Alison Bank

Photo: Alison Bank

It has been truly moving to see the outpouring of messages of support for Blanche, along with the vast collection of photos and memories accumulated here from you—Blanche’s community of family members, students and friends.

Soon we will invite you to use a new Facebook group that we will create to continue adding and sharing your personal photos and stories about Blanche with the sangha. Going forward, the Boundless Life blog will be used mainly as a forum for regular updates about Blanche’s health and well-being from San Francisco Zen Center and from others who are caring for her. We hope these two options will help keep the community informed, and also give us a specific forum to share updates about Blanche.

All the postings and photos already contributed on this blog will continue to be accessible. We are grateful to Daigan Gaither and Shosan Victoria Austin for mediating this blog. The posts attest to the great radiating warmth of the sangha towards Blanche.

For any other questions related to this blog, please write to communications(at)

San Francisco Zen Center


Message From Blanche

“I am deeply touched by the outpouring of affection from my Dharma brothers and sisters. It is certainly reciprocated.”

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

Message from the Hartman Family on Crowdfunding for Blanche

Zenkei and Trudy 2014

Zenkei and Trudy 2014

Dear Sangha and Friends of Blanche:

Recently a crowdfunding site was set up to raise money for Blanche’s care. Since this site was launched, there have been some posts shared through the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, American Zen Teachers Association and other groups, that are both inaccurate and, in several cases, derogatory of San Francisco Zen Center. In particular, there is a statement on the Lion’s Roar website which seems to indicate that Blanche is $100,000 in debt, which is not true.

When the crowdfunding site was launched, it was done with good intentions—to offer a way for students and friends of Blanche to support her health-care costs. No one anticipated that there would be any controversy.

The Hartman family is very grateful to San Francisco Zen Center. We have been working closely together over the past several years to find the best ways to support our father, Lou Hartman, and now our mother, Blanche.

To clarify the current situation, while there may come a time in the next year when Blanche’s resources will run out, right now there are still resources available. However, Blanche has expressed that she would prefer to not spend this money, so that she can leave it to her children.

The fact that Blanche is residing at Age Song in a shared room is the result of the family’s decision, including Blanche, to not spend more money for a private room, or for the full-time care she would need in order to return to City Center. Zen Center has expressed that she is most welcome to return if she does have care. And we are all quite clear that because Blanche needs a great deal of help to care for basic needs, Zen Center students cannot adequately and safely provide this help.

In effect, the fundraising has two purposes: to relieve Blanche from the feelings that she is taking care of herself instead of her children and grandchildren, and to benefit the family. The intimation that she is in a shared room because she does not have money, or because she has been banished from City Center and that San Francisco Zen Center is somehow neglecting her, is neither true nor helpful.


Thank you for your support.

Trudy Hartman

Helpful Information

Hi again, My name is Daigan Gaither and I am grateful to be your friendly “news guy”.

I am happy to post whatever photos and/or stories you like.  I will do so as timely as possible.  Some things to consider:

  • I will copy and paste whatever text you send me.  It will be marked as a quote with your name in the title of the post.
  • If you notice a factual error let me know and I will try to correct it.
  • Photos should be .jpg format and whatever you call the photo will become it’s caption unless you tell me otherwise.
  • Other info (or stories) an be included after or before the photo if you let me know.
  • All images are the creative property of those who sent them in.  Please do not use them anywhere for any reason without contacting the owner of the photo.

Sidenote: All images are “thumbnailed” to fit on the page.. but if you click the thumbnail you can see them full size.

So please send me your stories or photos or both to the email on the right. ——->


Deep Bows
Great Gratitude
Daigan Gaither

PHOTO: Zenkei Sees Her Book

Today I had the privilege of taking the first two copies of Zenkei’s soon to be released book to her.  As you can see from the photos she was thrilled.  Thank you to Zenju Earthlyn Manuel for putting such effort into making sure Blanche could touch and see her book.  You can pre-order your copies through the Zen Center Bookstore at

Zenkei sees the book for the first time.

Zenkei sees the book for the first time.

Happy Zenkei

Happy Zenkei

Update 6/19/15

Hello Friends,

Yesterday,  I shared the entire list of folks wanting to see Blanche with her, she expressed how grateful she feels for all of the love and support. She is also saddened that she can’t muster the strength to visit with everyone who would like to visit. Blanche continues to ask for folks to please understand that even though you are all very precious she just can’t see people at this time.

I Bring all cards, emails and comments here to Blanche everyday.  She is so thankful for all of the love and appreciation you direct towards her.  Please do continue to reach out in this way.

Blanche continues to be extremely low energetically,  but quite conscious and  her family, and Zen Center continue to work to support her choices and decisions.  There is nothing new to report, but we all also wanted to express our gratitude for your support during this time.

Deep Bows
Great Gratitude