A Message from Kosen and Laura

Dear Friends and Supporters of Brooklyn Zen Center,

We are writing to all of you who value and support the sangha’s work at Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) to ask that you contribute to our end-of-year campaign. We are in a time of transformation. Old social structures and ways of organizing human life are proving increasingly unstable. A human world whose primary economic drivers are self-interest and greed is no longer sustainable. Relations between peoples and nations rooted in fear, exploitation, and hatred are no longer sustainable. Our dear Earth is letting us know that our egocentric and anthropocentric ways of living are failing us and all living beings. Beneath all the noise, we are all feeling our moment as a time of change.

All communities working to cultivate the skills and capacities to live into a different kind of world are critical in this time. We need elders supporting us in embodying our deeply interconnected life as this Earth. We need communities supporting us in recognizing and transforming the hindrances of white supremacy, misogyny, individualism, consumerism, and the oppressive social systems that fuel them. If we are to support life, we must see how these ways of being have changed us and separated us from Mother Earth and all beings. We must realize how they structure our minds and how they cloud our hearts and confuse our basic human wisdom. As Tiokasin Ghosthorse often says, we must each learn again to be a real human being.

For this work of remembering we need community. Not one of us alone can discern and cultivate liberation from delusion within a deluded culture. We rely on the collective, a sangha that includes taking refuge in our ancestors, in Mother Earth, and in each other. We transform the world by transforming the karmic inheritance of a suffering world built on the delusion of separation and by clarifying how it lives in us and between us. We need to be in community to realize that compassion is the nature of the relational universe.

Our sangha continues this work thanks to the efforts of so many people. Our last two years have been difficult. Our closing and reopening was the way our community expressed the deeper transformation that is upending our current world. We are of course not separate from it. By accepting what was real for us, we have opened up tremendous possibilities, even as we are grieving what has been lost.

Now we are in a place of needing to build our temple and the administrative capacity necessary for our sangha to grow and be fully supported. We will be cultivating our Brooklyn temple in mutual support with our training monastery in Millerton. We now have the opportunity to deepen the Zen training passed to us by our ancestors while adapting it to meet the current world in all its struggles.

To do this, we need the financial support of each and all of you. To ensure our community is sustained, we are asking for whatever amount you can offer. Even if you only joined in sangha practice a few times, but feel BZC’s work in the dharma is important, your gift matters greatly. If you are a member, we ask that you give so that we have 100 percent participation from our membership. Every donation matters as it allows us to continue our healing efforts in the dharma.

Our collective effort is to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and liberation for all beings. Together we will ensure this great sangha activity continues!

With love and gratitude,
Laura and Kosen