This continues to be a difficult time for the U. S. and the world. Around the globe, Covid-19 deaths continue to rise and many countries have only begun to vaccinate their citizens. Many of us in the U.S. await the outcome of the George Floyd/Derrick Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, and may be reeling from the recent police killings of unarmed BIPOC people and the spate of mass shootings. We may be asking, “what is an appropriate response?” And we may be turning to practice, Buddhist teachings, and sangha for nourishment and support more than ever.
I’m happy to welcome a new Branching Streams affiliate, Seattle Soto Zen, whose guiding teacher, Allison Tate, is a student of Norman Fischer. Allison has been leading SSZ for nearly two years, after many years of training at San Francisco Zen Center.
Thank you to many sanghas who have sent their annual contributions to Branching Streams in the last week. If you would like to do so, you can contribute electronically with this link, or you can send a check to San Francisco Zen Center with the name of your sangha on the memo line and mail it to Tova Green, 300 Page Street, San Francisco CA 94102. Please contact me if your sangha is experiencing financial hardship.
Thank you also from Teresa Bouza, who has received photos from many of you as we continue to prepare for our online Gathering, Branching Streams Flow On. Whether you can attend the May 22nd event or not whether you will be able to attend the event or not, you are invited to submit photos to celebrate our amazing mother… The Earth. I’m repeating Teresa’s words from last week:
Did you spend time in Nature during this past year of social isolation? Did you find the time outdoors nurturing and supportive? Did you take any pictures of your favorite places outside? Is there any image of Nature that is particularly meaningful to you? If so, we would love it if you could send one or a few pictures to create a video to celebrate our Mother the Earth. Please indicate your name and the name of the place where the pictures were taken. Images of outdoor activities with your sangha are also very welcomed.
We will play the video at our Branching Streams Online Gathering on Saturday, May 22 (9:00 am to 12 noon PDT). Please save the date. Teresa Bouza will be creating the video for the event. Please send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Teresa made a video using images she received from sanghas, which we shared at our December 10,000 Joys and 10,000 Sorrows gathering. Here’s the link in case you missed it.
Jon Voss will host the weekly Zoom Clinic on Wednesday April 14th from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PDT. You are welcome to share this information with sangha members who are hosting sangha Zoom events including zazen, service, classes, etc. Here is the Zoom link or Meeting ID: 222 402 816, Passcode: 057143.
Some upcoming events you may want to put on your calendar:
Konjin Gaelyn Godwin, Abbot of Houston Zen Center, posted on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association an action on May 4th. .called “May We Gather, A National Buddhist Ceremony for Asian American Ancestors. www.maywegather.org . This event will address the situation of anti-Asian-American racism. Gaelyn wrote, “Please explore the website, and sign your temple/center up as a sponsor.” Houston Zen Center will also hold observances on May 4th.
Chapel Hill Zen Center is supporting the 34th Annual Chapel Hill/Carrboro CROP Hunger Walk. Their newsletter invites us to “,”join fellow CHZC sangha members and people of faith of many persuasions throughout our area in supporting both the Interfaith Council and hunger relief efforts worldwide. April 18-25 is walk week, but you can walk or not, as you choose–there is no organized walk this year because of the pandemic.” Please visit the Chapel Hill ZC CROP Walk page if you would like to make a donation. https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/team/chapel-hill-zen-center
I will be co-leading an online daylong workshop on Joanna Macy’s The Work that Reconnects with writer Laura Davis on Saturday April 24th. I first experienced Joanna Macy’s work in 1982 and trained with her soon after. I see this work as an antidote to overwhelm, numbness, and fear about the future. Please spread the word if you know people who might like to participate. Writing Our Way to Hope and Commitment, Online 4/24 (sfzc.org)
Earth Day is being celebrated this week in many centers. Mountain Rain in Vancouver, BC will show a film, The Story of Plastic on April 22nd to launch a month-long Call to Action to consider, observe and become more aware of our consumption and use of plastic. Click here for details.
I wish you all good health and strength in this time of both celebrations and mournings.