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June 17, 2016


Eyes of Compassion for the Victims of Orlando

Adapted from City Center Tanto David Zimmerman’s opening remarks at a memorial service on June 13, 2016, for the victims of the Orlando shooting.


Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion, at City Center.

Dear sangha,

Many of us are experiencing great sorrow and disbelief at the recent tragedy in Orlando. We are deeply saddened that one individual, whose mind may be clouded by ignorance and hate, has taken the lives of 50 people at a gay dance club in Orlando and injured 53 more. At this difficult time, we turn to our practice–to our loving, compassionate heart-minds–and hold everyone tenderly in Buddha’s embrace.

May we focus our hearts and minds now on unity, acceptance, and resilience rather than blame and hate. May we bring the world into our hearts and extend our loving kindness to those affected by this violent act.

May we turn our hearts and minds towards the conditions for realizing our Bodhisattva vow of freeing all beings from suffering and the causes of suffering.

Eyes of Compassion
Observing Sentient Beings
Assemble an Ocean of Blessings
Beyond Measure
Lotus Sutra, chapter 25


Please join SFZC in the Pride Parade on June 26. For information, click here.

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Patrick McMahon
    Jun 21 2016

    When the Orlando incident happened I was sitting June sesshin at Ring of Bone Zendo. Of course neither I nor anyone else in sesshin knew of what had gone down–until almost a week later, during the closing circle, when one of the sangha members who had not been doing sesshin came in from the outside and, in consultation with the teacher, Nelson Foster, reported the bad news. It was a judgment call on their part to have us hear it while still sitting together, rather than at random as we went our separate ways. I have no doubt that it was the better course, but what was lacking at the time was some way to include the victims in our dedications, which had already just been completed. Glad to know a memorial service was held at SFZC, and glad to have these words, which fill the void in the heart.


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