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August 22, 2017

9

Sanctuary and Action

By Central Abbess Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts

Amidst the political and social challenges of our times, when public expressions of racism, bigotry, anti-semitism, and hatred and violence are rising, I wanted to make very clear that San Francisco Zen Center, in our commitment to the practice of waking up and living in wisdom and compassion, strives to be a place of tolerance, openness, and welcoming, and a community of peaceful spiritual sanctuary.

San Francisco Zen Center will host a gathering for those interested in educating themselves on what it means to be a spiritual sanctuary. We will look at how we might join with other churches, temples, mosques, and meditation groups in an interfaith response and support for immigrants, refugees, social justice, and for our planet.

Our work as a spiritual sanctuary temple will be self-defined and based on the assessment of our internal capacity and the unique ways that we may offer assistance and alleviate suffering. We look forward to working together.

In the spirit of spiritual sanctuary and making a safe and protected place to practice, SFZC values and celebrates diversity, inclusivity, respect for all beings, and the inherent dignity of all people. We serve a diverse population of students, visitors, lay people, priests, and monks guided by teachers who follow in Suzuki Roshi’s style of warm hand and heart to warm hand and heart and all are welcome.

We endeavor to express our respect and support for the rights and well-being of all people who are marginalized and oppressed because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, class, or immigration status. We will work with others to find ways to support public action that protects and promotes the values of inclusivity and non-harming, acting for the well-being of all people and our beloved Earth―reaching out to the community, supporting prisoners, the homeless, and those in recovery; protecting the environment; and working for peace.

Affirming the interdependent nature of reality, we acknowledge that our own well-being and liberation are bound with the well-being and liberation of others. The only basis for a life flowing from Dharma is upright action, respecting each thing, and caring for one another.

There is a Zen koan in the Book of Serenity in which the Buddha is walking with his students and points to the ground saying, “This spot is good to build a sanctuary.” Indra, who was with the assembly, took a blade of grass, stuck it in the ground and said, “The sanctuary is built.” The Buddha smiled.

Just as placing a blade of grass in the ground can become the building of a sanctuary acknowledged by the buddha’s smile, so we can offer what is at hand―our ordinary practice: meditation, working and meeting together, and responding to the cries of the world.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aug 24 2017

    *love*

    Reply
  2. Kirsten Baker
    Aug 25 2017

    Thank you Linda Ruth; I sorely need what you have said. I want to learn to practice being a sanctuary; for myself and others, “a blade of grass”…

    Reply
  3. Nicely said

    Reply
  4. Lyn Flitton
    Aug 25 2017

    Dear Linda, thank you for your wise words in expressing this important intention and action. The whole world needs more SFZC.

    Reply
  5. Ellen Strzalkowski
    Aug 28 2017

    Thank you for these beautiful words, so very needed at this time and so very deeply appreciated. I am very interested in the gathering you mentioned and opportunities to participate in the creation of this spiritual sanctuary as a part of this community. <3

    Reply
    • Tova Green
      Sep 15 2017

      The meeting mentioned in Linda Ruth’s message will take place Thursday, September 28, 7:30 – 9pm at 300 Page Street (City Center).

      Reply
  6. Linda Budowski
    Sep 2 2017

    I would be interested in attending the gathering that you mention, which seems like a very positive step. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Tova Green
      Sep 15 2017

      The meeting mentioned in Linda Ruth’s message will take place Thursday, September 28, 7:30 – 9pm at 300 Page Street (City Center).

      Reply
  7. Oct 8 2017

    Dear Abbess Linda Ruth, You are the essence of compassion, a way of touching hearts and minds that fills one w/hope, acceptance, inner peace, & inspiration to be a transformed individual that enables us to melt walls of divisions of all living beings with grace, love and a peaceful nonjudgmental way. You’ve been an inspiration to me since we 1st met when you so graciously came to my dying brother’s bedside and consoled him w/your beautiful words and touch. I’ll always be thankful for the amazing service you & your husband gave him in our yard after his death. He was so fearful of death as his past was judged by many but not you. You eased his soul at his most vulnerable, frightened moment and let him begin forgiveness of himself/acceptance of moving on from his lifetime w/some sense of acceptance and peace. Thank you for all you do. You are hope, love, compassion, inspiration.

    Reply

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