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Newsette 10-18-2021

Here’s an autumn poem from Richmond Zen Center’s newsletter:

Although I try
to hold the single thought
Of Buddha’s teaching in my heart
I cannot help but hear
The many crickets voices calling as well

–Izumi Shikibu

We’re approaching the full moon and the end of October – a liminal time when many centers have ceremonies to honor the hungry ghosts.

Mountain Rain Zen Sangha in Vancouver, B.C. is having their “annual ceremony to offer the nourishment of the dharma to the hungry ghost realm” on October 31st. Chapel Hill Zen Center is combining a Sejiki Ceremony with a Food Drive for the local Interfaith Council pantry on October 23rd, ET. Here’s the link if you’d like to learn more about the meaning of the ceremony and how it can be linked to a food drive.

Reirin Gumbel, guiding teacher of Milwaukee Zen Center, is involved with an interfaith group, #Teach the Wisconsin Truth, which sponsored a Week of Action for Racial Equity this month, lifting up stories of Wisconsin history at sites of significance for racial justice. Reirin and a sangha member made a video about their visit to Native burial grounds an hour’s drive from Milwaukee.

#Teach the Wisconsin Truth offers this message: “Around the country, the forces of white supremacy and racism are confronting school boards, demanding they prevent teaching the true history of racism, slavery, sexism, and violence against marginalized communities that is part of the founding of our country. 

“As people of faith, we believe it is the responsibility of each person to do their part to address the systemic inequities and injustices in our society, and to create a world where every human being can live a life of dignity and respect.  Our children need to be prepared to take on their share of this task when they grow up. Yet, without knowing the true history of how our nation came to be, they cannot understand the underlying causes of the issues we face, and therefore, will be ill-equipped to meet the challenges they will confront as adults.”

Here is a resource shared by the Soto Zen Buddhist Association: “This year, scholars and professionals have come together in conversation to provide important information and findings on sexual misconduct in Buddhist communities. These conversations are entitled Abuse, Sex, and the Sangha; A Series of Healing Conversations. The producers of this series are sharing these videos with the broader Buddhist community.  Each of these conversations focuses on a different issue within this general topic area and all are critically important.” The most recent is entitled Sexual Misconduct & Legal Liability Issues in Buddhist Sanghas. In this conversation, attorney Carol Merchasin, highlights the legal responsibility of boards of directors in cases of sexual misconduct. You may wish to watch the video and share the conversation with your boards and sanghas.

San Francisco Zen Center is announcing the release of the newly completed Suzuki Roshi Audio Archive, a comprehensive collection of more than 300 recordings from SFZC’s founding teacher, Shogaku Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, including 29 lost lectures. It’s connected with a longer project of making some of Suzuki Roshi’s earliest talks available on the SFZC website. To read more about the project and to learn about the first two “lost” tapes they have released, go to SFZC’s Sangha News Journal article.

I wish you all good health in this time of the full moon, falling leaves, and feeding our hungry ghosts.

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