A Message From Shinge Roshi

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Dear Sangha Members and Dharma Friends,

The ability to respond appropriately to circumstances as they arise is so important. Many of you have been struggling with emotionally fraught situations, with illness, loss, and family hardship, and have expressed your gratitude for the profound and minutely subtle practice of Zen—a lifeline in these difficult times, and for all times. We’ve been offering this at the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji for 25 years at our West Seneca Turnpike home, and for nearly 50 years since our beginnings on the Syracuse University campus.

When the coronavirus pandemic began almost two years ago, I knew we had to come up with a response that would support your connection to Hoen-ji—the very name itself meaning Dharma Connection—and we’ve been able to develop an increasingly sophisticated digital Dharma relationship during these many months. Wherever you live, whatever your health limitations might be, you have been joining us online to listen to weekly talks, participate in introductory classes, and attend open sittings, discussion groups, sesshin, dokusan, and special events. Be sure to check our website and join our email list to learn of all these opportunities.

I want you to know that even though we are cautiously reopening to in-person attendance on Tuesday and Sunday mornings and for sesshin, following the strict protocols outlined on our website, we are committed to continuing our online offerings to encourage and support our widespread beloved community.

We have made considerable investments in our internet connectivity and technology. We have also been caring for our buildings and grounds, gratefully benefitting from residents’ and members’ volunteer efforts, and hiring contractors where needed for painting and carpentry. You will return to a beautifully maintained Zen Center, from the spiritual heart to the physical surroundings.

The hunger for Buddhist teachings and guidance in today’s challenging world has brought many new practitioners to Hoen-ji through our regular Wednesday evening online Introduction to Zen Meditation, and our outreach programs continue. Our long relationship with SU is more fruitful than ever. One of our senior members is Buddhist Chaplain there, and guides practice activities through the Buddhist Meditation Association. The Mindful Meditation Certification program, now in its second year, has seen enrollment more than double this semester. The Asian Festival and Religion Club for Pure Land Buddhism is a recent addition under chaplaincy sponsorship.

As you might imagine, our finances have taken a hit as the pandemic continues. For the first time in all these years, despite our careful budgeting, our income is not covering our operating costs, and even with a recent grant and matching donation, we are operating at a deficit.

I know how much you value what we are able to do amid these tough circumstances. Please help us continue our work with a generous gift, which is fully tax deductible. Your support has far-reaching consequences in this wondrous net of interbeing—internet and Indra’s net.

With gratitude,

Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat

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Otherwise, please mail your contribution to:

  • Zen Center of Syracuse
  • 266 West Seneca Turnpike
  • Syracuse, NY 13207-2639
Fri, Dec 31, 2021 - 9:00pm
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