A Message From Shinge Roshi

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Dear Sangha Members and Dharma Friends,

At our Fall Anniversary Sesshin, which was attended by Sangha members ranging in age from early 20s to mid-80s, we celebrated fifty years of consistent Zen practice. Who could have imagined, back in 1972, that a thriving Sangha would be sitting together in a beautiful, spacious carriage house zendo, chanting at the altars in the historic Joshua Forman House, doing kinhin on a woodland trail?

How did it happen? A few people sat down. Whether you were among them then, or began sitting during the years we met in my attic zendo, or joined after we formally opened our new home at the intersection of Onondaga Creek and Seneca Turnpike on October 18, 1996, it’s dedicated practice that has brought us to this significant point.

It’s what has sustained us through three years of the coronavirus pandemic, through isolation, disruption, anxiety, illness, loss and heartache. It has helped us develop inner stability so that we can respond to our circumstances with clarity and compassion. Realizing our interconnectedness, we have shared unconditional love and encouragement. The Three Treasures—Buddha, Dharma, Sangha—are our refuge.

Your participation, concern and support make it possible for us to offer this practice. With bows of gratitude, we ask that you help us continue our work with a generous year-end gift, which is fully tax deductible. We have established a new brokerage account if you wish to contribute stocks, bonds or mutual funds directly to the Zen Center.

Our fiftieth year has been filled with inspiring Dharma activities. We have at last been able to sit in person for zazen, meetings and quarterly three-day sesshin, following our Covid protocols. We have maintained our online presence, thanks to the installation of professional cameras, recorders and other technology, so that those who live far away or have health limitations or family obligations can join us digitally for sittings, teachings, sesshin, dokusan and special events.

Among this year’s online events were my Deep Presence course, which had a resounding community response; an impactful Climate Action course offered by Chokei Hilary McManus through the Zen Studies Society's Engaged Buddhism program, and a deep and stimulating webinar in which the well-known author Ruth Ozeki and I discussed her new novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness.

The hunger for Buddhist teachings and guidance in these challenging times has brought new practitioners and requests for teaching meditation in and around the city. At summer sesshin I named Joraku JoAnn Cooke a Dharma Teacher in recognition of her strong practice and her work as Buddhist Chaplain at Syracuse University. Many of the students in the Buddhist Meditation Association there have come for retreats both at Hoen-ji and at Dai Bosatsu Zendo, and have enrolled in the Mindful Meditation Certification program she started three years ago. The next generations are taking their seats.

As we enter our next fifty years, I thank you for your volunteer efforts, whether on the Board of Trustees, in the office, or caring for our buildings and grounds. I thank you for your past donations, and for your continuing support through your generous year-end contributions. Most of all, I thank you for your steadfast practice and vow.

With a grateful heart,

Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat

To make your contribution securely online using a credit card, simply click the following donate button:

Otherwise, please mail your contribution to:

  • Zen Center of Syracuse
  • 266 West Seneca Turnpike
  • Syracuse, NY 13207-2639
Sat, Dec 31, 2022 - 9:00pm
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