The irony doesn’t escape that I’ve been out of the worldly loop because of the Chaplaincy Core Program at Upaya Zen Center. Although there was some time to get online it was limited and I’m only just getting caught up on the tragedy in Japan. Adam Tebbe of Sweeping Zen and Nathan Thompson of Dangerous Harvest have put together ways we can help. [Edited] Maia Duerr of Jizo Chronicles also has a list of suggestions and commented “The Tzu Chi Foundation is one of the oldest socially engaged Buddhist organizations — they are launching an initiative to help relief efforts in Japan. Please consider supporting them.
Please take advantage of their generosity in compiling this information. A permanently maintained list is also available on the Ways to Engage page here on 108 Zen Books.
It was a remarkable week of topics ranging from precepts and paramitas to complex systems theory and resiliency. Nineteen Chaplaincy candidates received jukai along with three others, and we all participated in the novice priest ordination of one of Upaya’s residents. It was a reconfirmation of my jukai taken in August 2010 but so much more intense because I went up to the altar with two women who represent creativity in and dedication to practice.
At this time with so much suffering and trauma erupting in the world, it helps to be with those whose vision is set not only on bearing witness to that suffering but engaging in compassionate action. The Upaya Chaplaincy graduates have engaged in the world wholeheartedly from the Gulf disaster to transforming organizations. These are large footprints to step into but the world gives us little choice.
Whether it is for Japan, Africa, Burma or your small square of earth, please consider how you can step into the fire.
Thank you for practising,