Dana Takagi

Compassionate action and connection. Try not to make a mess.  But when you do, step forward, apologize, and proceed. Repeat endlessly. Be sure to make good friends on this holy path.

Dana Takagi , Kei Sei, E Kyo (Valley Sound, Mirror Wisdom), began formal practice at the Santa Cruz Zen Center in 1998, was lay ordained by Sobun Katherine Thanas in 2001 and priest ordained  with Katherine Thanas in 2009.  In addition to practice periods at SCZC, she attended the Fall 2004 Ango at Tassajara. In 2015, she received dharma transmission from Fugan Gene Bush, a first generation heir of Katherine.  She co-led the 2017 winter practice period with Gene Bush, and through 2017 to 2018 collaboratively led special workshops on (Living and Dying with Dignitiy), on the Forms of Practice, and the work of Joanna Macy.

A list of her administrative responsibilities over the years include work leader, a member of the Board of Trustees, Secretary of the Board, Vice President and short stint as President of the Board.  In addition, Dana has worked various small construction projects at SCZC, and co-leading a multi-year remodel of the dokusan building.




“I want to start with truth and end with art.” Ocean Vuong.

When I was a child, my parents took us to museums to learn about art.  But I was confused and bored.  I didn’t know what I was supposed to see or feel or learn.  Even as a young adult, I carried with me the uncertainties of what I should be experiencing with art. 

Eventually, I gave in to it and experienced my experience of art. Without the “should, ought, must.”  It is a fluid experience of being—thoughts, sensations while walking around a sculpture—ever changing. Katherine once cited Leonardo de Vinci who said, “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”  

Photo by Edie Brown, 2018

Photo by Edie Brown, 2018

My experience of art bears useful comparison with meditation. Zazen, like art, is a world of becoming. The possibilities and opportunities are enormous. It is a constant unfolding of change--we are changing and the world is changing around us.   I understand this practice as the mind of not thinking, and, appropriate action.  This is our life practice, to come to terms, so to speak, with the unpredictable and uncertainties that come with being human, including, a sense that there is more, an immensity to investigate.  We make plans, for careers, marriage, kids, and later maybe things go well or maybe things fall apart; typically we plan futures that do not include cancer or deep sorrow, financial problems, depression, anguish, loneliness; we anticipate one thing, and something else shows up. To sit meditation is the invitation to be with this one, who lives this life.


Selected Articles

2014. "First Precepts on Democracy and Research: Iteration, Collaboration and Reflection." Cultural Studies--Critical Methodologies.  

2008. "Form and Emptiness: Globalization and Buddhism." Amerasia Journal.

Please see more at Dana’s UC Santa Cruz Directory Page



Blog Posts


Where to find Dana…