Emerging from sesshin, messages from Branching Streams friends heightened my awareness of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Bernd Bender, guiding teacher of Akazienzendo in Berlin, wrote, “Here in Berlin, the war feels very close. Every day, hundreds of refugees arrive. Akazienzendo was offered a large, empty apartment for one year to give people from the Ukraine a home. With a small group of people from the zendo, we worked hard to furnish it and make it welcoming, so that people can feel safe there and start to heal. Last weekend, a family of five moved in; a woman with a child will possibly join them soon.”
Hozan Alan Senauke, Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center sent the following:
Dear Friends, If you are able to address the daunting humanitarian needs flowing from the invasion of Ukraine, please see the attached message from Zen friends in Poland. Their Paypal link and bank transfer information are near the end of the attached document. If you wish to make a U.S. tax-deductible donation, feel free to send funds through Clear View Project, noting on your check or Paypal that your donation is designated to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. https://www.clearviewproject.org/support/
I’m including a message from David Treleaven, author of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, on Trauma-Informed Resources for Ukraine, as some of you may have sangha members from Ukraine or who have family members or friends there. “Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost one month ago, some of you have requested TSM resources to support those directly impacted by the conflict, including humanitarian workers. One of the best documents I’ve seen so far is “Mental Health and Psychosocial Support • Humanitarian Response in Ukraine and Neighbouring Countries” which includes resources in English, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, and Ukrainian.:
If those of you in Europe are interested in David Treleaven’s work, he will be offering Trauma-Sensitive workshops in May and June in Germany, Switzerland, Ireland ,and the UK, including an advanced weekend with the Oxford Mindfulness Center also available online. Here are the dates (with registration links):
In the U.S., several sanghas are offering new programs:
Brooklyn Zen Center is offering a new online 8-week class on the Samdhinirmocana Sutra, a central text of the Yogacara tradition, beginning April 5 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. EST, taught by Ian Case and Jefre Cantu.
At Houston Zen Center, Yuho Wade Maggert will teach How to Be a Buddhist, a six-week class beginning April 26from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. CST. This class is an integration of both book study and practical application. This class will thoughtfully examine and discuss the texts: The Way of the Bodhisattva by Santideva and Entering the Mind of Buddha: Zen and the Six Heroic Practices of Bodhisattvas by Tenshin Reb Anderson.
Chapel Hill Zen Center is hosting an in-person sesshin led by Daitatsu Tom Wright from Friday night June 10 to Wednesday, June 15. Daitsu Roshi, who will be traveling from Hawaii to lead the sesshin, will speak on his understanding of zazen practice and the connection between zazen and daily life, as informed by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, as well as the role of the bodhisattva.
In closing, here is a message from The SZBA Board of Directors and the SZBA DEIA Committee: “The application deadline for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association BIPOC Scholarship Fund is Thursday, March 31st. BIPOC SZBA members, and BIPOC students of SZBA members are welcome to apply for funds to support their Zen practice including events, classes, conferences, retreats, and travel costs. We ask that you share this message with your students and sangha members as well. “This year, we have $4,000 available to BIPOC members and encourage you to apply for grants that do not exceed $350 so that we are able support as many BIPOC members and their BIPOC students as possible. To apply, please send your application to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 31.”