June 2022



June 2022

Let us practice the Way with joy, and with compassion for ourselves and others.

                                           —Roshi Enkyo


Dear Sangha,

So here we are in June, on the very edge of summer—change of season, and for many, a change of lifestyle and, maybe, a different sense of time.

This summer we may also be experiencing a variety of places for practice. Many of us will be sitting in our new space, while others participate from home via video. And we will able, at last, to return to Wisdom House for our summer Ango, a two-week retreat starting July 25. (For intimate reflections on returning to the new space by Torei and Fusho, see below.)

Two of our ongoing groups will be meeting this month: the Book Group, on June 24th and the prison letter writing group the following day. All VZ members are welcome to attend these groups. 

Next Sunday, June 5, will be a sad but important occasion for us: the memorial service for Elena Yuuka Taurke, who gave so much to the Zendo for so many years.

Jeff Shugo Berman, our Shuso for this summer’s Ango, has given us a beautiful reflection on practice and the overlooked treasure of Sangha, which he calls “the yeast of practice.”

In the silence and stillness of sesshin, we can return to the power of being together moment-by-moment, and discovering how our lives are revealed to us through our connected existence.

Read it all at the end of this Bulletin.


Nina Shuka Klippel





Thursday, June 1:    Dharma Talk by Joren

Sunday, June 5:       Memorial Service for Elena Yuuka Taurke

Thursday, June 9:    Dharma Talk by JoAn Hoshi

                                  Newcomers' Meeting 6:40 pm

Saturday, June 11:      Zazenkai with Dharma Talk by Ryotan

Sunday, June 12:      Dharma Talk by Gessho

Thursday, June 16:   Dharma Talk by HonGo

Sunday, June 19:      Dharma Talk by Mukei      

                                   1:30 pm, Path of Koan: Not Knowing

Monday, June 20:     
Zendo Closed for Juneteenth

Thursday, June 23:   Dharma Talk by Tokuyu Hoshi

Friday, June 24:        5 pm, Book Group

Saturday, June 25:    1:30 pm, Prison Letter Writing Group

Sunday, June 26 :      Dharma Talk by Kojin

Thursday, June 30:   Fusatsu with Talk by Shinryu Roshi   



The Bolivian Sitting Group meets Saturday mornings, 8 am 

 Bolivia Zoom Meeting ID: 297 525 8394; Password: 1234

The People of Color Sitting Group meets Saturday mornings, 10:30 am

How to Meditate meets every Monday evening (except holidays) at 6:30 pm


Sunday, June 5, 9:30 am

Online only

Online Memorial Service for

Elena Yuuka Taurke

There will be a memorial service for our beloved Sangha member, Elena Yuuka Taurke, on Sunday, June 5th. We will have a period of zazen followed by our service led by Enkyo Roshi, and then we’ll have an opportunity to share our remembrances and thoughts of Yuuka. The program also will include a musical interlude by Lumi and a Jewish chant led by Torei.

The service will take place online only at the Village Zendo’s usual Zoom link; the physical Zendo will be closed on that day.



Saturday, June 11, 9 am – 12:10 pm

Online and In-Person


With Dharma Talk by Ryotan Roshi


We invite you to participate in Village Zendo’s zazenkai, a half-day retreat that will be held both online and in person. It will include ample periods of meditation, service, a Dharma Talk, and conclude with open sozan.

Zazenkai will be held in a hybrid format, in which both virtual and in-person participants will practice together. Please note that there is separate registration for online and in-person attendance.

For Information and to Register     CLICK HERE   

Saturday, June 25, 1:30 pm

Online only


“For many years now, I have tried to come home, to settle comfortably in my own head, only to struggle and run once again in the face of my pain and lonliness [sic].  Then the day came when I was put in a single man cell, with no window and no contact with the outside world and there I sat for months, while my demons howled.  …. I believe that to try to practice my religion means to use whatever is available to me to help myself, and all men, to settle comfortably in the boundless nature of mind.  I just happen to use howling demons.”

So wrote an incarcerated man to his VZ correspondent several years ago.  What a gift from this man to his correspondent. Such an opportunity for both to learn, grow, practice.

Whether you’re already writing to incarcerated persons, or are curious about the practice, come to the next VZ Lifelines to Solitary meeting on Saturday June 25, 2022 at 1:30pm via our online zendo link. All are welcome. No need to pre-register.

If you have questions, concerns or topics for discussion, feel free to contact Shuka at ninak223@aol.com or ChoGaku at marjoriesmccoy@gmail.com beforehand.


Sunday, June 26, 5 pm

Online only

The Village Zendo Book Group will discuss


by Richard Powers 

It's an extraordinary book weaving together many stories, including those of trees.

This is how the publisher describes it:

The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of―and paean to―the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’ twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours―vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.


It is widely available in print, electronic, and audio formats,
including on the NY Public Library Libby app.




July 25-August 4

Wisdom House, Litchfield, CT


At last!  Our first in-person summer retreat since the start of the pandemic! And our return to Wisdom House, where we have spent so many retreats!

This will begin our 2022 summer ango with a silent and spacious container in which we can reflect deeply in community, heal, and restore ourselves. In addition to sitting and walking meditation, the days will follow a schedule of body practice, work practice, Dharma Talks, liturgy and rest. Private interview with Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara and the Village Zendo teachers will be available daily throughout the retreat.

You may join us for some or all of the time. Please note that to receive a service position you must attend from the 25th on.

We’ll be adhering to the latest CDC guidelines and the recommendations of our Village Zendo medical team. Vaccination plus a booster is required for in-person attendance.

For those unable to attend in person, our regular online sitting schedule will continue and the Dharma Talks will be streamed online via our Online Zendo.

 For information and to register:    Click Here   


Our New Zendo

                                          Photos by Benjamine Kojin Heath

Practicing with “Beginner’s Mind” has been a necessity, not an aspiration, as we settle in to our new home at 260 W. Broadway. It took many hands and a whole lot of coordinating, behind the scenes, to make it happen. But now we’re up and running, and it feels good to have set sail in this new Tribeca environment. There is a lot to get acquainted with:  being on the ground floor, a new coat room, a new dokusan room, some new columns, a new kitchen . . . not to mention the new hybrid experience!  


Relying on our Beginners Mind, we’re not just getting used to the new space, we’re all readjusting to practice in person. It’s been two long years of "practicing in place” together, in our own homes. So there’s some additional bumping up against things, and each other, because of the pandemic. How do we ring those bells, again? When do we bow? Which way do we go during kinhin? And can they hear us online? 


The mornings have been quiet and luxurious, in my humble view. New people have been trickling in, and so have our “old-timers,” usually to the tune of joyful greetings. 


And when, at last, we do sit down together on the cushions for a precious period of zazen—for me at least, it feels like coming home after being out in the storm. 


“Vast is the robe of liberation!”

           —Traven Fusho Rice



Dear Sangha,


This morning I sat in the new zendo

grateful for the 72 labors that brought it to me

and it felt holy

not because the zendo is more elevated than home practice

or anywhere else

but because it reminded me that everything is holy

Including having coffee at Grandaisy with Fusho after practice

the city bustling around us

our short curly hair on fire (a reference only she might understand).

ringing the bell

we chant verse of the kesa together

vast is the robe

your home practice reaching into the zendo through a screen near the altar

I can see your faces

even if you can’t see mine

sometimes it is like that

the vast reach of one’s compassion is felt in ways that you could never imagine

this new place so unfamiliar

and yet here it is

Myoko’s cup

Tokuyu’s CD

Roshi in the dokusan room

that worn cushion

that has waited for us for over two years

          —Navah Torei Steiner



Sangha—The Yeast of Practice

By Jeff Shugo Berman


A few minutes into the first period of zazen at our new 260 W. Broadway Zendo, I felt that indescribable feeling of sitting in-person wash over me. The unique sounds of the space, the unpredictable moments arising in the silence; the handing of ourselves over to communal practice and a shared space of ritual. As much as I’ve enjoyed our at-home practice on Zoom, I’ve longed for the return to in-person practice. As I felt my belly pumping in and out, my body finding its rhythms of zazen, I remembered why. When we go to the Zendo, in the literal sense, we go to sit, to chant, to walk. And in the midst of those activities, our lives reveal themselves to us. Breathing, watching, listening, experiencing awareness—a satisfaction and subtle joy emerges from the depths. But more than that, it is the sharing of those experiences in the presence of one another that makes our practice so rich. As has become painfully clear these past two years, there is an indispensable, primal quality to being with others. And like the mundane experiences of being in the world with others that we’ve so longed for during Covid, it is this experience of sitting side-by-side, and of bringing our awareness to the same experiences of living, that I find so delightful to return to.


Years ago when I first started practicing, I remember that for some time I didn’t feel connected to the jewel of Sangha. As many young men are, I was enamored of the glory of what I thought enlightenment was, and though I outwardly took refuge in the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, mostly I only thought about the first two. I revered the Buddha, the one who triumphantly achieved enlightenment and didn’t have to experience the suffering of being human—I thought. I bowed to the Dharma, the sacred principles that made such an achievement possible—I hoped. But what about Sangha? It felt boring and mundane to me; unremarkable beyond my normal fondness for other people. A few years later, when I had the chance to spend nine weeks at a monastery, that changed. I remember standing on a balcony outside of the kitchen, feeling for the first time that same indescribable experience of Sangha that washed over me during zazen a few weeks ago at 260 W. Broadway.


This Summer we have the exciting opportunity to return for sesshin at Wisdom House, which we last visited in 2019, six months before the beginning of Covid. It’s a return to the strange and wonderful experience of living under one roof with individuals to whom we are not related, but with whom we share the familial bonds of Sangha. On sesshin, our schedule is comprised of things we do all the time—meals, work, rest, and exercise—and we surround those activities with zazen. In doing so, we practice being with our awareness throughout the day, and by extension throughout our lives. But this practice is ultimately activated by the secret ingredient, which sometimes may not feel like an ingredient at all—Sangha. Sangha is the yeast that makes the bread rise; it allows the other ingredients to breathe and come to life. We wake up, and immediately we encounter the Sangha, who connect us to the vast web of life on our planet. We sit on our cushion—hearts beating, sweaty palms, sore muscles—and we feel the Dharma embodied in the people all around, experiencing what it is to have a body along with us. We eat, exercise, sing, work—living the Dharma alongside other livings beings. Without the Sangha, without other living beings living the Dharma, we cannot live the Dharma.


If these past two years have taught us anything, it is that our bodies are interconnected. We all breathe the same air, walk the same earth, live and die together. On sesshin, our intention brings us back to the cushion again and again, no matter what transpires while we are on it. It is our conviction, our faith, that propels us to put ourselves back on the same seat, and, to the best of our ability, remain open, attentive, and curious. In the same way, during these past two years, and as we sometimes must do on sesshin, we have called upon our strength and resilience to stay open and present despite experiencing tremendous challenge. But we have not done it alone. We have done it side-by-side, lives rubbing together in the same intimate and sometimes uncomfortable way as we do on sesshin. As we approach Summer Ango, this opportunity to return to sesshin in person feels to me like the perfect moment to reflect on and take refuge in the wondrous, exquisite jewel of Sangha once again.


I’m looking forward to another chance to practice together at Wisdom House, a setting so well-suited for sharing our practice together. Each day we are continuing to discover what our lives and the world look like in this new era. And as we do, we are continually reminded of the interconnectivity of our lives with all beings. In the silence and stillness of sesshin, we can return to the power of being together moment-by-moment, and discovering how our lives are revealed to us through our connected existence.

 We communicate in three places online:
our email list, a Facebook page, and a 
Groups.io list
where we share events and information among the whole
Sangha. Explore these various ways of staying connected and
up to date here: 

Editor: Nina Shuka Klippel
Associate Editor: Taylor Plimpton
Managing Editor/ Design & Production: Howard Thoresen


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