Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Clemency For Judy Clark – The Right Thing To Do

Jan. 14, 2012 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

Judith Clark (photo: Nan Goldin)Photo: Nan Goldin

Please join us in supporting Judy Clark’s appeal for clemency.

After serving 30 years in prison, Judy Clark deserves freedom and the opportunity to rejoin society. Behind bars, Judy entered the belly of the whale, as she put it, and through the difficult work of deep atonement and self reflection she found herself; she is no longer the same person who committed the crime all those years ago. Instead, Judy has become a model of wise and compassionate action in the world.

We believe her release will not only benefit Judy herself but society as a whole. Her release will also exemplify the values of rehabilitation, transformation, and forgiveness—characteristics of a just, wise, and compassionate world. In March 2012, after the release of a NY Sunday Times Magazine article written by Tom Robbins, the Village Zendo held an event to raise awareness on her behalf at Judson Memorial Church with over 145 attendees. More than 100 clemency letters were written and we raised about $1000 for her legal fund. Many letters from various sources were generated at that time as well. There was much energy and hope for clemency in the year immediately following the article, which sadly has not occurred. No response yet from the Governor’s office. So we are now in a quieter period of waiting and continuing to plant seeds and generate awareness in whatever ways we can. Recently Judy’s lawyer Sara Bennett published Spirit on the Inside, a book of portraits, photos and stories of just some of the many women Judy affected during her incarceration.

Much of the unfairness of the criminal justice system depends upon those on the outside simply forgetting about and giving up on those incarcerated. It is so important to not let that happen. Go to her website at for much more information, including her writing, and links to the NY Sunday Times article by Tom Robbins and a Guardian article by Eve Ensler. Spirit on the Inside is available digitally or in print.

We encourage everyone to write a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to grant clemency to Judy. If you’ve already done so, it is still critically important to continue spreading the word getting others to write. Unjust sentencing is one of this country’s darkest shames. Judy Clark is one of thousands presently lost in the system. We have provided three model letters for those who would prefer to use one of those. Please send a copy of your letter to Governor Cuomo to Judy’s lawyer at

3 Suggested Model Letters

Winter Ango 2012

Jan. 13, 2012 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

Ango means “peaceful dwelling.” It is a time when the sangha comes together for a period of intensified practice and commitment.

The Village Zendo’s winter ango began on December 26th and will continue through March 25th. Please join us in zazen, study and joyful attention to our day-to-day life.

Here is what you’ll need to enter our winter ango:

Should you have any questions, please contact Soshin at Thank you for your practice.

Roshi’s book, “Ten Talks on the Heart Sutra” available now

Jan. 11, 2012 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

This wonderful book is $18 including tax and shipping.

Contact to place your order.

$20,000 matching grant through January 31st, 2012

Dec. 11, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

The Village Zendo is fortunate that two donors have offered a matching grant: $20,000 on the basis of $1 for every $2 donated by others in support of the zendo, from now through January 31. If the terms of the match are fully met, then the zendo will have raised $60,000 through this gift. Please help us sustain our Zen Center and the community that makes it possible for you and all of us to transform our world.

Village Zendo and Occupy Wall St: Join the discussion group

Dec. 3, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

Kaizen has started an “Occupy Wall” discussion group to talk about Village Zendo and the Occupy movement, join by visiting the Yahoo group or emailing

Occupy Wall

Winter Ango study text and letter from Roshi now online

Nov. 26, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

This winter, we will study the Lotus Sutra. You can read Roshi’s letter and follow links to download the Lotus Sutra here:

Year End Retreat: Shuso Letter and Ango Commitment Form Now Online

Nov. 23, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

The Winter 2011 Ango Commitment Form and a letter from our winter shuso, Soshin, are now online:

Winter 2011 Year-End Retreat Page

Our exciting new education project with Citta in the Limi Valley, Nepal

Jul. 9, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

Dear friends,

Citta education projectLast fall, while walking through the mountains bordering Tibet, I was struck by the faces of the children I met. They were so poor and yet they showed the playfulness and curiosity of children everywhere. And also, behind those faces, in their eyes, there was a pleading, lost quality. It is so hard to see that in ones so young. Already lost.

Until I walked into the little village of Halji in the Limi Valley. The children in that town seemed quite different – more centered, more disciplined, healthier even. It was apparent in their bodies and faces, a sense of self-respect. I asked why this village was so distinct? Only a half -day walk away the children seemed so forlorn! In this one tiny village the town’s leaders had managed to build a two-room school and wrangled a teacher from the Nepalese government. The children, both boys and girls, had been able to go to school for two years until the government payments stopped and the teacher had to leave. Without teachers or supplies, they were trying to continue, to gather the children together to learn.

I resolved to find a way to serve these children, and those in nearby villages by helping the local leaders to provide for supplies and teacher salaries. Although there were a few contacts, it was not clear how to implement this project until Michael Daube of CITTA stepped into the picture.

I have known Michael for many years and have followed the work of CITTA in India, Nepal, and Mexico. This year, while travelling with Joan Halifax and her medical team, I visited his wonderful clinic in the same area of Nepal as the Limi Valley. When I asked him about the possibility of helping with this rather modest project of schooling for the children, he agreed to investigate and came back with a detailed plan. Since CITTA is already staffed locally, we can begin quickly and with confidence.

Please donate to this cause.

Thank you, in appreciation,

Citta Nepal and Limi Valley

Michael Daube and Enkyo RoshiCitta is a non-profit dedicated to supporting remote regions in the world suffering from poverty and lack of infrastructure. Through our experiences, we’ve found that through healthcare, education and economic development we can nurture better stability and opportunities to so many families in these communities.
With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, landlocked Nepal has a romantic image. It is nonetheless one of the world’s poorest countries and is struggling to overcome the legacy of a 10-year Maoist insurrection. According to the UN, around 40% of Nepalese live in poverty. Humla District, which lies in the far northwest of Nepal, is by far the country’s poorest and most remote region. The district has no roads or wheels and there isn’t enough food to support its population. Basic supplies need to be transported by air, which many times doubles the cost.

In 2004, Citta Nepal opened a hospital to help provide basic healthcare to the region. The hospital was fortunate enough to receive a grant last year to increase its size and ability to provide care. As the new facility opened, Roshi Joan Halifax and Roshi Enkyo O’Hara traveled to the hospital with a team of medical professionals and others on their journey to make a sacred kora of Mount Kailash. The medical team spent 2 days at Citta Nepal’s hospital, caring for almost 1000 patients!This was truly an auspicious way to christen such a facility.

With healthcare safely planted in the region, it was no surprise what was to come. As Roshi’s group journeyed to Kailash, they passed through the remote Limi Valley on the border of Tibet, a precious and wonderful pocket of Humla, which still preserves the ancient Lama culture of Tibet. What Limi lacks is support for their children’s education. Due to this issue, many of the Limi youth are forced to leave their families and communities in search of education in Kathmandu or India. Roshi came into contact with these villagers and felt she would be interested in supporting education for the children of Limi Valley. I felt this was a natural progression of our care for the district and a wonderful opportunity for Citta Nepal.

Michael Daube Executive Director, Citta
To see and find out more about Citta and the Limi Valley go to the Citta website at and Michael’s blog

Click here to see student pictures and profile from the Citta school

Scholarship Fund

Jul. 8, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off

The Village Zendo announces a financial assistance program for dharma study. Read about it on our scholarship fund page:

Details about the Village Zendo Scholarship Fund

Joshin Sensei on Priests and Power – A dharma talk

Feb. 13, 2011 - Posted in: Blog - Comments Off