As I am writing this, I remember the younger woman I was in 2007 who arrived at the Village Zendo—filled with grief that was largely unexamined and unknown. I was terrified of speaking in groups, of self expression, of being seen. How perfect to find my way to Dotokuji Temple, “True Expression Temple.” It was my good fortune and I felt that I had arrived at the right place. It didn’t take long to discover that VZ was a dynamic, nurturing community that provided the nourishment, care and support, as well as a structured practice environment with gifted teachers—all of which I longed for.
I am humbled and excited to be Shuso for this upcoming summer ango. I look forward to practicing together, and to being challenged—learning and stretching in unexpected and unimaginable ways. I am heartened and encouraged to take this on by your kindness, my faith in Sangha, and understanding that it truly takes a village—a Village Zendo—all of us in our many varied roles, many of us in new roles learning new steps—all equally important—to create a peaceful dwelling place in which to practice together.
Roshi has chosen Dogen Zenji’s “Genjokoan” as our text for this summer ango. Roshi wrote in her letter, “Dogen encourages us to meet our lives directly and recognize our relationship to all that is.” We will have the opportunity to hear dharma talks by Roshi and the teachers on this seminal Soto Zen text.
Please commit to intensifying your practice during summer ango by either coming for part or all of the retreat at The Grail, or by intensifying your practice with The Village Zendo sangha in New York City led by Joshin O’Hara, Sensei, or wherever you are at a distance. I am providing a commitment form to help you articulate your aims for this period.
Let us practice together diligently and with determination in the summer practice period ahead—in all of our daily activities —sitting, walking, working, eating, resting…. Practicing in this way we care for ourselves and each other and the world. The world desperately needs our care now.