The Buddha instructed his followers in the sangha to care for each other’s needs and not just focus on their own individual realization. In this spirit the Jizo House project, for which we are fundraising, is an on-going effort to rebuild accommodations for both able-bodied and differently abled visitors, residents and monastics, and the Diamond Net has taken shape as a sangha-at-large network to give voice, visibility and actions needed for accessibility-related changes. While the Jizo House Project makes our buildings and grounds more responsive, the Diamond Net is the human hands, eyes and voices of volunteers who can respond to and anticipate these needs.
From the ango opening retreat Peaceful Dwelling in early March through the greening trees and blossoms of Shuso Hossen in late May, here are highlights from our ninety-days of sangha practice at the Monastery in Spring 2019:
Seiryu knows his way from Mexico City to Mount Tremper inside out. He doesn’t even need to spend the night in New York City anymore, as when he was less familiar with the subway and the bus to Mount Tremper. He has now been coming to ZMM from his home in Mexico City several times a year since his first trip in 2007.
The Beyond Fear of Differences (BFoD) Planning Group held a public forum at the Monastery on Sunday, March 3, 2019—a moment 10 years in the making. It was a chance to welcome the whole Sangha into the development of the BFoD mission and vision process, to share the details about the process that the committee had been involved in, and to let people know how they can get involved. A similar forum was held one week later at the Zen Center of NYC.
On Saturday, January 5th, ZCNYC held its first retreat just for people of color: Healing the Wounds of Racism with Valerie Brown and Marisela Gomez. This program was the result of changes in the Programming Committee that brought people of color from the Beyond Fear of Differences Planning Group into the decision-making process around programming. With their help promoting this program—even with a cold rainy day—turnout was excellent, indicating a clear need for these programs going forward.
Shugen Roshi wrote the following preface for issue 37.1, the final quarterly print issue of Mountain Record. This long-considered change reflects how communications have evolved since we began publishing the journal in the 1980s. Starting this spring, follow our on-line updates and offerings, here and through our newsletters, and look for our annual print journal, available December 2019. —The Editors
Not being a native speaker of English, living my 75th year of life, hard of hearing—surely I was way back in the line of candidates for Chief Disciple. Thus, it was a big surprise when Shugen Roshi asked me to be Chief Disciple for Spring Ango. Immediately a line from the Shuso Hossen Ceremony became real and very present for me: “I feel like a mosquito trying to bite an iron bull.” Fears of incompetence arose in my consciousness.
October 23, 2018—As of this writing, Shugen Roshi and Hojin Sensei, along with 14 fellow sangha members, are nearing the end of their three week pilgrimage in the footsteps of the Buddha. They’re looking forward to sharing their photos and reflections with the rest of us when they return, but we’re getting a head start using some of the images and messages that have been sent back over the past dozen or so days.