Many of you probably received the same message I did today from Siobhan Cassidy, Program Director at San Francisco Zen Center:
“Tassajara began this summer season with much optimism and enthusiasm as we once again welcomed guests and students back to the valley. Sadly, we have had to make the very difficult decision this week to closeTassajara for the remainder of the summer. This means your sangha week is now cancelled, I am so sorry to have to deliver this news.
“There are many reasons why we’ve come to this decision, including several cases of Covid among the students, maintenance and supply chain problems, as well as severe staffing shortages and other complexities. Because of this, we are simply unable to provide our guests with the high level of care and attention that we want to offer while also taking care of our staff and students.
“This decision was not made lightly nor without much discussion. This is a very sad moment for all of us and we are deeply sorry for how this will affect your plans for the summer. In the middle of this constantly shifting, impermanent world, may you and all living beings everywhere be happy, peaceful, and free from suffering.”
I know that many of you were looking forward to being back at Tassajara with your sangha, had booked plane tickets, and made the necessary arrangements with family members and workplaces in order to go. This is especially disappointing, as Tassajara was closed for the last two summers due to the Covid pandemic. I share your grief, as I was planning to co-lead a LBGTQIA+ sangha week again this summer and a Zen and writing workshop.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk about how this is impacting you.
Many of you may also be grieving the shooting of ten African Americans in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and the shooting of nineteen children and two teachers at an elementary school whose students and faculty are primarily Latinx in Uvalde, Texas.
Two Streams Zen in Western MA is mourning the Buffalo victims of racial violence with a 49-day remembrance. They will have an online community sitting and chanting for 7 consecutive Sundays, beginning May 29 through July 3 from 9 to 10 a.m. EDT. Here is the Zoom link.
At City Center we have had two memorial services this week for those who died in Buffalo and in Uvalde. Please let me know of ways in which you are responding to the cries of our world.
A friend sent me a poem by Kim Stafford today which I find encouraging and will share with you.
Advice from a Raindrop
by Kim Stafford
You think you’re too small
to make a difference? Tell me
about it. You think you’re
helpless, at the mercy of forces
beyond your control? Been there.
Think you’re doomed to disappear,
just one small voice among millions?
That’s no weakness, trust me. That’s
your wild card, your trick, your
implement. They won’t see you coming
until you’re there, in their faces, shining,
festive, expendable, eternal. Sure you’re
small, just one small part of a storm that
changes everything. That’s how you win,
my friend, again and again and again.
Kim Stafford, “Advice from a Raindrop” from Singer Come From Afar. Copyright © 2021 by Kim Stafford.