2016 Year End Letter

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016 in Reflections | Comments Off on 2016 Year End Letter

“There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth.” Dai-o Kokushi: On Zen

“Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.” Rebecca Solnit

Greetings Three Treasures Members & Friends   December, 2016

Most of the leaves are off the trees, fall rain is gently dripping from bare branches and the days getting shorter and shorter. I am writing to you once again to ask for your year-end donation to Three Treasures Sangha.

This year has had its usual ups and downs and has been a challenging one for me personally in several ways. I have had to deal with some pesky medical issues that have reminded me once again of my mortality and fragileness. I have also been saddened by the mean spiritedness and incivility of the presidential election campaigns and feel angry and powerless about worldwide war, injustice, and poverty which have resulted in increasing numbers of refugees fleeing their homelands.

And now, with the election over, my anxieties and worries about how things will play out in the future are constant forces arising within me. Where is hope? How do I walk a path of healing while holding on to what I know to be true? And how do I even know what is true?

In these days, I find myself seeking refuge in the stillness and beauty of the natural world: the sound of the rain on my hat, the swaying of the maples in the wind, and the burbling of the creek through the ravine. I have also taken note of the presence of Kanzeon on our altar—she who sits with ease and hears the sounds and sufferings of the world and responds appropriately. Kanzeon is sometimes represented as resting peacefully while having a thousand tools in a thousand hands—touching still waters and ready to act skillfully in whatever situation arises. She is an inspiration for me and for all of us of how to be present and engaged in this time of uncertainty. I am also finding comfort and strength from my sisters and brothers in the sangha as we support each other through our confusion, anger, and fears.

This is the place of refuge that our practice together can provide. We can use the resources we have cultivated through the years—our sitting space, our teachers, our sangha, and our own deepening attention and awareness—to embrace the uncertainty in front of us, remember who we are, and act on that reality as we live our lives.

When we forget our self-centered concerns and open up to this moment unfolding right now, we can remember that we are here only for a short time: that we (as Whitman says) are large and contain multitudes and that we and all beings are infinitely unique and precious. Touching these realities provides the ground we stand on as we step forward in ways that embody the path of the bodhisattva.

Now more than ever, our practice of sitting quietly and forgetting the self is a true gift. Please give what you can afford to help cover the various expenses of maintaining our sitting center and caring for our teachers. This is the way of keeping the gift moving—and the mystery of giving is that the gift always comes back most of all to the giver.

With Love,  Larry Keil, for the Three Treasures Board of Directors

Three Treasures Sangha
Post Office Box 12542
Seattle, WA 98111

Dharma Gate
1910 24th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98144

For those looking to make a donation, please visit the donation page.