February at Ancestral Heart Zen Temple: A Month in Photographs

Each month, we’ll be sharing photographs of life at Sōshinji, Ancestral Heart Zen Temple. All Brooklyn Zen Center members are warmly invited to come practice here, and to experience Zen monastic training. Please email ahdirector@brooklynzen.org for more information.

Ancestral Heart Zen Temple was closed for 10 days this month, because three of us–Ian, Don, and Kaishin–caught COVID. We were extremely fortunate in that none of us had serious symptoms, and we were well cared for by Rachel, Wesley, Jeff, and Gerardo who took on all the cooking, dog care, and house care, and brought us our food on lovingly prepared trays like this one.

Molly and Milo took on the roles of Ian’s COVID nurses.

Garden season is just around the corner! This is our beautiful garden altar, built by former Shissui (work leader) Emme, who departed the monastery this month, returning to the marketplace with gift-bestowing hands.

Here’s Ryan, planting some of the first seeds of the season: Onions!

This year, Rachel stepped into the role of Shika (guest manager). They care for visitors and for the temple, embodying work that is both sacred and mundane – like folding laundry.

Gerardo (right) joined us this month, for a long-term stay! Here he is receiving instructions from the Tenzo (Don, left) on cooking lunch. This is a candid photo, we swear.

Jeff departed this month, leaving us with one of his backdoor snack masterpieces.