This week contains a number of holidays you may be celebrating – Bodhidharma’s Birthday, the Chinese lunar New Year on the 13th, and Valentine’s day on the 14th. And, in the U.S. it’s Black History Month. While the northeast, Midwest and Pacific Northwest of the U.S. are blanketed in snow, in the Bay Area of California plum trees and camellias are beginning to blossom.
Regarding Black History Month, Chapel Hill Zen Center’s newsletter featured a number of events that might be of interest to other sanghas, as they are all online.
Brooklyn Zen Center’s co-guiding teacher Kosen Gregory Snyder is offering an 8-week online Socially Engaged Buddhism class starting February 19. Class dates: Fridays 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16. Class time: 7 to 8:30 pm EST. This class will explore some of the tenets, movements, leading figures, and issues central to what has come to be known as socially engaged Buddhism. In addition to exploring how these movements initially responded to the colonial and wartime contexts from which they often emerged, the course examines the critiques that engaged Buddhism offers current social and economic realities, as well as Buddhism’s own institutions and practices.
In last week’s Newsette, Fushin Susan Schoenbohm, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate board member, was searching for other sanghas who have created what ADZG is calling a Sangha Care Committee, which checks in with sangha members in need of assistance and sees what others can do to help. Many sanghas replied. Here are some of the responses she received:
Jill Kakushin Kaplan of Zen Heart Sangha in Woodside, CA, wrote : “Our sangha has for many years had what we call a “Dana Steward”. This person takes care of anyone in need by organizing members to support them, especially in times of illness or death in the family. Additionally, we recently created a position for another Sangha member to explore and share community resources during Covid-19, such as health updates, food banks, social security assistance etc. (what we’re calling our “Resource Steward”).
Tricia Teater, guiding teacher at Udumbara Zen Sangha in Evanston, IL noted, “At the first of the year. we sent out a survey, gathered/updated members phone numbers, and have a Board member available to field calls and connect as necessary. The latest example: snow removal – we hooked up someone who could with someone who needed.
Laurie Senauke and Liz Weitsman are the point people for Berkeley Zen Center’s Sangha Support which has been going on for about 25 years.
Gene Bush sent a document the Santa Cruz Zen Center Board adopted in 2014 when they established the position of Sangha Support Leader, which Gene was the first to fill. This document is attached.
Austin Zen Center has developed an online Mutual Aid Project. Here’s the description: Have a need/ask/request (anything from running an errand to needing someone to talk with to borrowing a book – anything!) – or perhaps something to offer (an old zafu or a book that might be of interest or extra cookies from all the stress baking you are doing)? – post them in our Mutual Aid channel, now on our AZC Chat (Discord) Server! Read more.. Austin Zen Center’s Mutual Aid Project is based on an article in Vox.com
So many of us have lost loved ones during the last year. If you or members of your sangha are grieving, this four week Jizo Practice Group, Journeying Through Grief and Change with Fearlessness is being offered by San Francisco Zen Center. This group, co-led by Hoka Chris Fortin, teacher at Everyday Zen, Dojin Sarah Emerson co-guiding teacher of Stone Creek Zendo, and chaplain Jennifer Block will meet on Thursdays, February 18 – March 11. “In this time of difficulty and uncertainty, the archetype of Jizo Bodhisattva, an embodiment of fearlessness and great persistence, is a profound resource. In this group, we will deepen our capacity to meet personal and collective grief with the qualities of Jizo Bodhisattva.”
Jon Voss’s Zoom Clinic is available this Wednesday, February 10th, from 11 a.m. to 12 PST. Here’s the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.
I wish you good health, fortitude, and joy in the coming week.