This evening I took part in an interfaith vigil called Mourning Into Unity, outside Temple Emanu-el in San Francisco. It was one of many such Vigils taking place across the nation to activate people of Faith to vote and to stand together against the pandemics of Covid 19, systemic racism and environmental devastation. It’s the first time I’ve gathered with interfaith clergy since March, and though we all wore masks and maintained physical distance it felt very tender to stand in a circle and share our prayers for people in our city and country. There will be another Mourning Into Unity vigil next Monday in Washington DC outside the White House.
Today was Indigenous Peoples Day. I received an email from Stephanie Kaza, who spoke on the climate crisis at last year’s Branching Streams Conference, about steps sanghas can take to cultivate local indigenous awareness. Stephanie forwarded a message from Unitarian Universalists with some questions that made me realize how little I know about local indigenous people:
· Do you know the history of the land your congregation/sangha calls “home?”
· Do you know what Indigenous people historically or currently inhabit that land?
· Do you know who the Indigenous people or communities are who live in your area or region and what their visions and struggles are?
· Are you acting in relationship or solidarity with any of them?
If you’d like to read more, here is a link to the newsletter Stephanie forwarded.
Ceremonies are important ways of marking transitions in our sanghas. One of great significance is happening at Berkeley Zen Center later this month:
The Board of Directors of Berkeley Zen Center, with boundless gratitude, invites you to the Stepping Down Ceremony and Stepping Into Founding Dharma Teacher position for Hakuryu Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi: Saturday, October 24 at 3 pm Pacific Time. The ceremony will be virtual; go to www.berkeleyzencenter.org and click on the link on the right hand column “Enter the Zendo Now” at the scheduled time. All are welcome.
Austin Zen Center is having a Tree-Planting Ceremony – A Celebration of Dharma Transmission on October 10th at 12:30pm Central Time. They will plant a Black Pine to celebrate and commemorate AZC Head Teacher Dōshin Mako Voelkel’s Dharma Transmission, given by her teacher Ryūshin Paul Haller in April 2019 at Tassajara. Dharma Transmission marks Rev. Mako’s full authorization as an independent Zen teacher. All are welcome to join us in-person or online for this significant event. Read more & register her.
Eishun Nancy Easton of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago organized a day-long outdoor sesshin that brought many members of ADZG together face to face for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March. She writes, “On Sunday, October 4, 2020, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate held our first outdoor all-day sitting at the Harms Woods forest preserve, located just outside Chicago. Priests Eishin Nancy Easton and Gyoshin Laurel Ross co-led this event, which included seventeen participants who joined together for a day of physically-distanced zazen, services, and an extended meditative walk along a hiking trail by the Chicago River.” You can read the short article here.
In Jon Voss’s Zoom class recently, guiding teacher and members of Centro Budista Zen Soto in Puerto Rico have been planning their first Jukai, which will be conducted with only guiding teacher Sandra Laureano and three ordinands in the Zendo, and videoed by Zoom. No matter how complex or simple your Zoom questions are, you are welcome to attend Jon’s weekly Zoom clinic on Wednesday October 14th at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Here’s the link, and Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143