The theme of this fall’s practice period is “meeting the world as sangha.” Reflecting on this now, I realize that this phrase can be understood in two ways. In one sense, in meeting the world (or in any encounter) there is the possibility of seeing those whom we are meeting as not separate from us. We are immediately included in the community of all beings, and we all wake up together. The world is the sangha.
In another perhaps more relative understanding, our activity of meeting a suffering world is supported and bolstered by the strength and upright friendship that we find in spiritual community. We are not in this alone.
Of course, as is often the case in Zen, we come to see that both frames—the nondual and the relative—are true at the same time.
I find that membership at Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) can be experienced in the same way. By practicing generosity in an ongoing way like this, we enter into an intimate and ethical relationship with a universe that is always and ever giving and receiving. It is a great reminder of our fundamental interconnectedness with all life.
On the relative and practical side, BZC membership is a way of supporting the community that supports you. It is a tangible act that reaffirms our commitment to practice and to all those who are supporting us on the path. From a strictly financial perspective, membership is BZC’s most reliable ongoing source of income and is essential to sustain our community and programs. To paraphrase Dōgen, we could say that membership is the “skin, flesh, bones and marrow” of Brooklyn Zen Center.
And so we will be having a membership drive during the month of October. Our goal is to raise an additional $1000 per month in membership revenue, which corresponds to about 15 new members. I invite and encourage you to consider joining us and become a member today.
Thank you all for your generous support and your consideration. May we all continue to meet the world as sangha.
Director, Brooklyn Zen Center