Equity and The Great Ocean

November 30, 2022

Image by Jess X. Snow

Dear Sangha,

We are entering the final days of our Fall Practice Period, themed “Repose and Bliss, Engagement and Liberation.” We face the monumental challenges of racial and patriarchal violence, ecological catastrophe, eroding political systems, the global pandemic, and more. “Repose,” in this context, is no indulgent or self-interested activity. The Ancient Greek paúō means “cease, stop, hinder, halt”: repose is not passivity, but interrupting harmful systems.

This requires us to move against the stream and can create a space for repose—to build sangha (community) in a society that makes us individuals, to offer practices based not in profit but in vow. In a capitalist system, robust finances are considered their own measure of organizational health. For us, they are only an outward manifestation of our deeper practice intentions. This flow of resources between the sangha and temple enables us to deliver our offerings to the entire community.

Our End of Year fundraising goal is $100,000. We raised $88,074 last year and we are increasing our goal to: build our new Equity-Based Model making our programs more accessible, stipend our teachers and hire staff, and meet the expanded activity at our two temples.

Shakyamuni Buddha insisted that once monks entered the sangha, their former caste became irrelevant, “just as when the great rivers…reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations and are simply called the great ocean.” It was a quietly radical act in a society defined by those social stratifications.

America has its own caste and class system built on race, enforced through economic and political systems. We must face and care for those histories to build true sangha. It is not enough to leave our doors open—we must meet each individual who approaches with skillful means and compassion. Our new Equity-Based Model is a major turn in this direction: a practice of mirroring, and a way to offer dana to the temple and teachers.

We ask you to turn against the stream of division as you offer a gift that reflects the depth of your intention. Your offering will widen the dharma gate of our practice, and offer a chance at repose and bliss for our sangha. Please consider making a gift today.

Ryan Lee Wong
BZC Administrative Director