December 06 Newsletter » Roshi's Corner
Back from abroad

Roshi standing before a mani wall, a stack of stones inscribed with mantras. This part of Tibet is full of such walls, large and small, and Roshi circumambulated all of them to fulfill a vow she’d made to herself.  This is in Dzogchen, a little village next to a monastery and study center. The group had taken refuge in the town after an unexpected snowstorm. 

The last golden leaves are falling, and the days are shorter and shorter. The winter sun feels so good on our heads as we walk these windy city streets. The morning sun spilling into the Zendo is brilliant – and the quick, sharp darkness before we even begin to sit in the evenings seems to accelerate our quiet settling in for zazen. It is so good to be back home with the Village Zendo community!

As I traveled in Japan and Tibet, I visited a variety of monasteries and temples. I saw big buildings with lots of monks and modest dojos for lay practitioners. There were all kinds of golden Buddha images, wild and rich iconography, beautiful gardens, immense statues. On the one hand, I was moved by the richness and devotion represented, and on the other hand, I felt a renewed appreciation for the simplicity of our own Zendo. Every year we try and usually succeed to raise just barely enough money to continue meeting our expenses. Perhaps we could think of our giant rent bill as an invisible temple that we erect each year? And perhaps we could consider our operating expenses as a stupa that we dedicate to the project of offering the dharma to others. I say this because I firmly believe that our project here on Broadway in Manhattan is vital, that we offer far more than anyone can see or imagine. People come to our Zendo-loft-temple knowing that it is open to everyone, that it is a place to enter into one’s own mind, and the possibility of wisdom and compassion. I think we are the biggest bargain on Broadway! Please continue to make it so, with your presence, your effort, and your dana.

In gassho,

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