Dear Friends and Sangha Members,
The days are growing short and the winter solstice is drawing near. Soon, all around us, holiday decorations will brighten the peace and darkness of the winter nights. As the light fades, it is so important to have a place of peace and brightness in what at times seems the troubled darkness of the world. This is what the Village Zendo offers and it is why, as the year draws to a close, we make a gentle plea for your support.
For nearly 30 years the Village Zendo has offered us a place to gather and share our practice as a community. During that time, we have witnessed wars, racial hatred, and violence both abroad and here at home – the greed, anger and ignorance that cause so much suffering in the world. Through it all, the Village Zendo has provided a space to sit and discover the joy that, though sometimes veiled, lies within our hearts and minds as it does within the darkness of the long winter nights.
In addition to providing a place to sit and “turn the light within,” the Village Zendo is a place to open our hearts and work with others to carry that vision forward into the world. This year Village Zendo members assembling with others, lit candles before the house of the governor to make a plea for clemency and mercy for those who have been long incarcerated. They participated in VZ workshops on racism and sat down to write letters that have now blossomed into a correspondence with incarcerated people throughout the country.
We ask you to reflect on all that the Village Zendo has meant to you and our community, then to contribute generously so that we can carry on together. The survival of a small religious institution in costly lower Manhattan can never be taken for granted. Our rental costs rise year after year, and though our membership continues to grow, we depend on a generous response to our fundraising appeals in order to meet our rising costs while we do everything we can to hold the line on fees.
Has this been a good year for you financially? Then please open your heart and give generous support to an institution that supports your life. Have you been struggling financially? Then please know that whatever you are able to give will be accepted with deep gratitude. Your continued presence and financial support are vital both to the life of our community and to its continued existence. On behalf of all the Village Zendo teachers, we wish you a joyous holiday season and thank you for the support that makes it possible for us to carry on our practice both within ourselves and in the world.
In deep gassho,
Enkyo Roshi and Joshin Sensei