Dear Everyday Zen friends,
I am writing you as another
year draws to a close. This last
month has been pretty trying and exciting, what with Hurricane Sandy battering
New York (where our children and many friends live: all are well) and the
grueling Presidential election. Once again, we have survived. There is always
suffering but we always survive. That's practice, that's the Buddha's teaching.
It inspires us, and gives us great strength and confidence.
Trying times force us to reach
deep to find our love and compassion. This has been my experience again and
again, and I feel it now more than ever, as our communities advance and mature,
new leaders and teachers emerge, and more and more people make stronger and
stronger commitments to the Dharma. I find myself often moved to tears by the
efforts people are making, and by the increase in happiness I find wherever I
go to practice - even when many of us remain challenged by the economy and our
In early 2013 I'll publish
(this time with Shambhala Press) a new book called Training in Compassion: Zen Teaching on the Practice of Lojong. It's about the importance of
compassion, and the way to systematically generate compassion through practice.
I am passionate about this topic right now, and have scheduled numerous events
around the country to visit Dharma friends and share these teachings.
Around the same time a new
poetry collection will be coming out called The Strugglers. It is, I think, my strongest poetry yet (though I
usually think this whenever a new collection comes out). It's also about
suffering and compassion. Unlike "Training in Compassion," it offers no program
and no solution- it's a long sad, and, I hope, memorable, song of the world's
suffering - and of human caring.
I am really happy to be birthing both these works and
hope you will support me by attending events when you can and letting your
friends know - and of course buying books!
That's the good news. Less
good is the fact that Everyday Zen is currently meeting a financial challenge.
As you may be aware, we have had trouble recently with our website. As our
genius webmaster Tim Burnett (the resident priest at the Red Ceder Zen
Community in Bellingham and a self-taught professional tech maven) worked
overtime to put out fires, it
became apparent that we needed more than pitchers of water. Another re-do of
the "stuff under the hood" is again necessary.
In order to do this we will need to
raise $20,000 soon.
This includes hiring an
outsider tech person to do major fixing, as supervised by Tim. Our new person
would also be hired to maintain and update the site as we go forward.
As you probably know, Everyday Zen is conceived of not so
much as a Zen group in the ordinary sense, but as a wide and various network, a
family of like-minded association.
Although the family includes several physical temples, its real home is
the website. It has been heart-warming for me in the last several years to
recognize the reach that Everyday Zen, through the website, now has. We
regularly gets notes from around the world thanking us for our offering of
talks and programs. I just had a visit from a group of Zen nuns from Korea who
listen regularly to talks on the site!
In short, the website is very
important for us, so please reach as
deeply into your pockets as you can this year to add a little extra to your
year end donation to support this crucial project. Donations can be made by check or by Paypal, and you can find instructions by following this link to the donations page .
This is from Tim:
The Everyday Zen website was last renewed in 2007 based on an early
content management system available then. Since then much has changed in the
web world and technologies have advanced. We are excited to start another
revision of the website backed on a cutting edge system called "Concrete
5" which will allow us to update and maintain the website more easily and
fix and improve many awkward corners and minor issues. In the end it will be
the same website with more than 1000 Dharma Talks, a full calendar of Everyday
Zen events, information about the many programs and initiatives of Everyday Zen.
And it will be a better website: cleaner in look and performance. Pages will
load faster. And links to specific talks and events will be shorter and more
stable. Thank you for your support in updating and improving this central piece
in our center-less practice place of Everyday Zen.
I wish you all a happy and
healthy holiday season. As always, thanks so much for your financial support
and your practice. It makes a big difference to me and to many others.