Dear Sangha,

Response to the spread of COVID-19 is rapidly becoming more and more robust. In the last 24 hours every other local Zen group has closed public meetings and cancelled their sesshin. You have only to read the news to see the increasing response to the spread of this disease. It simply does not seem in alignment with our core vow to care for all beings to put ourselves at risk or to increase the chance of dissemination and tax the healthcare system even further.
 

Thus, given the increasing risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus we are closing the zendo for four weeks — at which point we will reassess. This means that the March 14th Zazenkai is cancelled, and though there is a high likelihood that Spring Sesshin will also be cancelled, we are postponing any decision on that for now. (Those who have registered will soon receive a separate e-mail regarding this matter.) 

For the time being, Wednesday and Sunday night sits will be held via Cloud Zendo. Furthermore, other practice opportunities are in development and will be shared and made available shortly. 

This has not been an easy decision, but it is the most caring decision, and it was made in conjunction with a newly formed No-Rank Advisory Committee that grew from responses to the recent membership survey.

 

Cloud Zendo: Wednesday and Sunday at 7:00

We’ll begin with a chanting service and then move into two 30 minute meditation periods. On Wednesdays, we’ll  transition into a Dharma Sharing Circle (sharing optional) and on Sundays I will offer Teisho or a less formal Dharma talk (this Sunday I will talk about utilizing the practice to help ourselves and others during this time of stress).

If you are not familiar with Cloud Zendo, please read about it on the website https://www.norankzendo.org/cloud-zendo and do a trial login onto it at anytime. Keep in mind that you  will be muted upon entry. Only my microphone will be active. To help decrease background noise, please stay muted. For Dharma Sharing Circle, I will activate everyone’s microphone from my end.

 

Other Practice Opportunities

Cloud Zendo will still be held every weekday morning.

I will continue to sit at Zendo in the Park on Saturdays, but we will not have group coffee afterwards. If you come, please sit in such a way that there is three feet (the equivalent of one zabutan) between you and a neighbor. Also, do not come if you are ill.

Within a few days, I will present an outline for intensive home practice to help bolster us during this trying time. 


 

Please keep in mind, maintaining a depth of practice is important all the time, but at times like this, it becomes increasingly important. It is too easy to fall into compulsive tracking of the news or distracted behaviors intended to reduce anxiety that only shifts attention rather than trains the mind and taps us into true contact with our lives. 

And remember, we practice to keep ourselves open and free. That one shining alone shines forth even at times like this ... can you testify to it? If not, look ... look ...

I will be redoubling my own practice. Please join me.


With gassho,

Rinzan Osho

Portland Oregon Zen Buddhism