As we reach mid-summer, sheltering in place continues in many states, not in others, as the Covid-19 virus continues to take lives and wreak economic havoc. I hear that some sanghas are exploring what it would take to be able to meet in person, and others are wrestling with hard decisions about whether to renew leases or have already decided not to do so.
This Newsette contains updates about the Branching Streams Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership course, new dates for the Fundraising Class Houston Zen Center is hosting led by Thomas Bruner, some words from the Brooklyn Zen Center’s board regarding closing their Brooklyn center, recommendations for new books by Marcia Lieberman and Pamela Weiss, and a reminder about Jon Voss’s weekly Zoom Clinic.
We were able to admit everyone who applied, including those on the waiting list, to Unpacking the Whiteness of Leadership. There are about 100 people enrolled in the course. I think this speaks to the heightened awareness of systemic racism in the U.S. and throughout the world and a …
Fundraising for Buddhists: From Hesitance to Confidence! Taught by Thomas Bruner, this workshop will be hosted by Houston Zen Center. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. New dates: Tuesdays, August 11, 25, 6 – 8 pm.
Brooklyn Zen Center’s board sent a letter to their sangha describing the process they went through to reach a decision to close their city temple. The board wrote: “We realize that this may be painful news to hear. Our temple on Carroll Street has been our spiritual home for over a decade. Please stay tuned for emails and announcements about opportunities for dialogue and ritual that will allow us to express our collective grief and appreciation around the loss of this space. Please know that we are committed to a Zen practice space in Brooklyn. Once we have more clarity regarding a post-pandemic New York City, we will assess what makes sense at that time regarding a space. In the meantime, we will be wrapping the virtual sangha around Ancestral Heart and supporting our community from the monastery.”
I was saddened to hear this news, as you may be if you’ve visited Brooklyn Zen Center – and I know that other centers, particularly those that rent spaces, are grappling with questions of whether they can afford to keep paying rent on spaces they are currently unable to occupy due to the pandemic.
New books: Your sangha may have had a summer visit from Marcia Lieberman, a San Francisco-based member of Presidio Hill Sangha. Marcia’s many skills include writing, gardening, and photography. You will soon find a letter from Marcia on the Branching Streams website, with a link to order her new book, Clean Slate, Images from Dogen’s Garden, published by Goff Books.
Pamela Weiss, a dharma heir of Teah Strozer, former guiding teacher at Brooklyn Zen Center, gave a riveting dharma talk at City Center last Saturday on themes from her book published today by North Atlantic Books, A Bigger Sky, Awakening a Fierce Feminine Buddhism.
Although both books are available at Amazon, you may want to order them through your local bookseller.
Jon Voss, our Zoom wizard, says “All are welcome to join our weekly drop-in clinics, Wednesdays at 11am Pacific time. These weekly clinics are designed as open workshops in which participants bring any questions or problems they are facing, as well as their own ideas and expertise for what is working in their own sangha. We share resources we’ve discovered during the week, try out different methods, do hands-on training, and generally provide a place for mutual support. If you need the meeting password, please contact Jon Voss.”
I’ll end this Newsette with lines we chant in the SFZC Online Zendo every morning after the robe chant: May all be healthy and strong. May all have ease and joy in their lives and be free from suffering.
With deep bows,