On July 1, over 170 sangha members gathered on Zoom to reflect on the state of our distancing. We heard from board members who are part of a special “reopening subcommittee.” They’ve been focused on the various questions that arise when considering any relaxing of the quarantine at the Monastery and our city center.
We also heard from several students who work in medicine and public health, including an epidemiologist, an infectious disease specialist and a general practitioner working on the front lines.
It would be fair to say that we have unanimity of opinion that it would be wonderful to find a way to practice together at our centers. It would also be fair to say that everyone agrees, when looking at the facts as they stand, that we will not be able to do so for some time to come, certainly through the end of 2020. At the Monastery in particular, the stakes are too high for any compromise of safety precautions in keeping Covid from infecting anyone as that would be difficult to contain, especially given what we know of asymptomatic infections.
You can listen to the first hour of the meeting here:
Following the general meeting, participants broke up into groups of about a dozen each to process how this quarantine has affected them. Everyone was also invited to share thoughts on ways to bring people together, mainly digitally but also in cautious outdoor settings. Group facilitators made note of these suggestions, all of which are being considered by the board of directors and Monastery training staff.
Thank you to everyone who spoke, listened, and shared their time for this sangha treasure to continue to flourish.
Pictured at top: Sangha members gather for outdoor zazen in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn on July 4th. At 10am, they connected over Zoom to an online Half-day Sit that brought together 40 participants overall. (Photo by Joshin Del Valle.) Below, Hojin Sensei leading the Half-day Sit from the Monastery’s Buddha Hall.