2019 Year End Letter

Posted by on Sep 20, 2019 in Announcements, Newsletter | Comments Off on 2019 Year End Letter

It could happen
any time, tornado,
Earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.
It could, you know. That’s why we wake
And look out—no guarantees
In this life.
But some bonuses, like morning,
Like right now, like noon,
Like evening.
~William Stafford

December, 2019

Hello Sangha Members and Friends –

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! This has been my mantra for the past five months as I have been recovering from a serious bicycle injury that occurred in late May. Although I was debilitated for a time and am still a bit gimpy, I am happy to be alive and to not have incurred a serious head injury. I am so grateful for all of you: friends, family and sangha members who brought succor to me when I was really incapacitated. Whenever I started to feel sorry for myself, I just smiled because I was still around, able to hold my children and grandchildren. Now, just walking is a wonderful delight!

This accident stripped me for a time of many of the notions and stories I tell myself about who I am. I lost strength, independence, and the ability to help others. I could not cook a meal or help with work projects. My identity of being a useful, productive, goal-achieving person faded away. When these stories and ideas are experienced as less than true and seen to be on shaky ground, what is Left?

Well, I still have my breath, the steam wafting off my hot coffee, and the heart-piercing beauty of the leaves of the Japanese maples. And gratitude. Even in this messy and frustrating time with the “thieves of gratitude”, cynicism, materialism, and self-centeredness, stronger than ever, gratitude reigns. And this gratitude embraces these dire times. Mysteriously, I find myself being grateful for the pain in my knee, grateful for the rancor, the deep anxiety, and the fears that current events spawn. Grateful because I can feel the anguish–I am alive and kicking! I am in the mix! And I can do something about these less than desirable realities—rehab the knee, be more kind and understanding, listen deeply, and sow seeds of trust and integrity. With fewer stories to protect and defend, I can occasionally act with more authenticity and compassion in this present moment.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for a life-threatening accident to transform and deepen our understanding of who we are. We can forget ourselves in daily zazen practice, in sitting together weekly and monthly, and in “three breath zazen” as we go about our daily lives. When we forget ourselves and let go of all the conditional details of who we think we are, we have a chance to experience the mystery at the center of the matter.

Opening our hearts, we can accept and cherish all that we are and all that we are not. For a moment, we see through hatred and greed and allow the call of the chickadee to confirm our place in the universe. Gratitude arises and flows into compassionate action. One meditation teacher has said that “enlightenment is an accident, but that zazen makes us accident prone.” Three Treasures Sangha provides the space, conditions, and guides for “accidents” to occur — a place to sit down, shut up, and engage the mystery.

As we near the end of the year, I am once again asking for your financial help in continuing our sangha mission of providing a community space for the practice of zazen. As always, your donations help compensate our teachers and fund maintenance of Dharma Gate, our practice center. Some of the more costly projects accomplished recently include reinforcing the dojo floor, putting in a new hot water heater, and paving the alley. Please donate what you can afford to help us continue to be able to provide a place and a practice where we can touch and be touched by the light that is always there.

And, as always, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

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

Please send donations to: Three Treasures Sangha, P.O. Box 12542, Seattle, Wa., 98111 or through PayPal on our Donation page.

“Just to be
is a blessing,
just to live
is holy.”
~ Rabbi Abraham Heschel