October 4, 2017
A Message in Response to Violence

Dear Sangha,

The abbatial leadership and all at San Francisco Zen Center join with people throughout this country and the world in mourning those who lost their lives, the hundreds who were wounded, and the families and friends of so many who were harmed in the indiscriminate killing of innocent people in Las Vegas. We also thank the many individuals—professional police, fire fighters, paramedics, ambulance drivers, doctors and nurses, as well as the citizens at the scene—who risked their lives to help protect and save, and recover one another.

One of the most fundamental teachings of Buddhism is non-harming and, in the verses of the Dhammapada, the Buddha teaches:

Chapter 10, Violence, translated by Gil Fronsdal

129. All tremble at violence;
all fear death.
Seeing others as being like yourself,
Do not kill or cause others to kill.

130. All tremble at violence;
life is dear to all.
Seeing others as being like yourself,
Do not kill or cause others to kill.

“All tremble at violence; life is dear to all.” This being so, how do we create the causes and conditions needed to take care of our shared world? Acts of violence do not appear in a vacuum; they are co-dependently arising like all conditioned things. Let us look at the causes and conditions that make possible this suffering that manifests over and over again, and ask ourselves how we might practice, respond, and act to contribute to the harmony and change so needed in our world.

Central Abbess Eijun Linda Ruth Cutts

Photos: Avalokiteshvara by Travis Stansel; frieze from Gandhara Buddha at Tassajara by Taiyo Lipscomb


Joshua Sandeman
Arts & Culture, Features, Zen Practice

Medicine and the Dharma

Joshua Sandeman, a former SFZC resident, is a Nurse Practitioner based in Salem, Oregon. “Medicine puts me face-to-face with all manner of human suffering and it can be a challenge to take care of feelings of burnout, detachment, and despair."