Inclining Our Hearts: A Message from Kidō Ian Case

Dear Shanga,

This time of year in the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) calendar—the interim period between Rohatsu and the beginning of the new year—has always had a particular texture for me. The fall practice period has just ended and there are a couple weeks before our regular programming resumes in January. I experience this as a wondrous time of stillness and potential. My karmic patterns seem to stand out in stark relief, illuminated by the teachings and engagement of the practice period and the effort brought forth in the Rohatsu retreat.

During the break, there is always the risk that I will simply fall back on my conditioning and succumb to its comfort and familiarity, which I have so often confused with ease and with rest.  At the same time, my own intentions still resonate, the teachings are close at hand, and I can still feel into the collective intentions of the sangha towards awakening. I have the wonderful possibility to make another choice at this moment, to incline my heart toward liberation and away from separation.

This year’s Rohatsu retreat felt especially poignant and powerful for me. It was the first Rohatsu in many years that Kosen and Laura did not lead. It also marked the one-year anniversary of our reopening of Boundless Mind Temple and the six-month anniversary of Sarah and Charlie Senseis’ arrival in Brooklyn. I had the opportunity to co-lead the retreat with them, to give a dharma talk and to meet students in practice discussion. This new vantage point only deepened my appreciation for the sincerity of practice in this community and gave me a visceral sense of amazing potential that is revealed when the sangha comes together in presence.

Our End of Year Campaign is of course another such opportunity for us to come together and manifest a collective intention—to support the community and BZC’s mission of liberation for all beings. In the same way that realization isn’t actualized without practice (or that we can’t have wind without fanning), we need each of us to contribute to this effort for it to do its work.

So far we have raised $42,463 toward our goal of $100,000. Please consider making a gift today. May we celebrate this opportunity to incline our hearts towards peace and awakening, towards sangha. Together we can do this.

With gratitude,

Kidō Ian Case
Brooklyn Zen Center Tanto (Head of Practice)