Friday, February 26, 2010

Zen Buddhism El Paso / Juarez--Services February 27, 2010

Come sit with us Saturday, 330pm, February 26th, at 711 Robinson in the Kern Place neighborhood in El Paso. Sit like a frog. Sit like Sengai's frog. A couple of weeks ago (via a Shunryu Suzuki essay) we talked about Sengai's frog sitting on his lilly pad, totally aware, intuitive, maybe a little bit hungry, ready for the fly that might suddenly appear, equally ready for the bird or the snake that might be lurking in the nearby. And what does Sengai mean anyway: "If by practicing Zazen one becomes a Buddha..."?

Hope to see you tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Our Sanga Members in Juárez

A few hours ago I received the letter I am pasting below. It's from fellow Sangha member and friend Edgar Acosta. He and his wife Cynthia, also a member of our Sangha, live in Juarez with their two-year-old daughter. Edgar is speaking of the terrible violent madness that is gripping his city, now exacerbated by the massacre of 16 (mostly teenagers) last Sunday. I have not edited his letter. Like my Spanish, his written English is halting and uncertain, but in this letter in particular his prose demonstrates the struggle of trying to express to us the difficulties he and his family face. Two other of our Sangha members, Susana and Lorena, also live in Juarez. They and their families all endure and witness the daily on-going bloodshed. They hear stories, they watch the news, they listen to rumors. And Edgar, Cynthia, Susana and Lorena take time to practice. I ask that in your morning meditation you remember our fellow practitioners, our friends, as well as all people of the city.

Light a candle.
Say a few words for peace.
Say a few words for our friends.
Sit zazen.
Live the day mindfully.

Living here across the border a few minutes from where the Acostas lives, I try to understand my own responsibilities and my country’s participation in this madness that has gripped their community. The bloody sadness is like smog. It crosses the border and is present in our lives here. Many people perhaps don’t recognize it, don’t want to recognize it, want to ignore it, but it’s here, infecting our lives. We too, in our ways, can act to help affect a difference for our neighbors.

The photographs scattered through this blog are from Cynthia and Edgar's Zen Buddhist marriage ceremony in September 2007 at the Zen Center of Las Cruces. Harvey SoDaiho Hilbert Roshi presided at the wonderful event. Our little zendo was crowded with sangha members and friends of Cynthia and Edgar, up from Juárez for the celebration.

SUBJECT: Juárez City

Good Morning Sodaiho,  Bobby,  Roberto.

During the last two years,  Juarez City becomes the most dangerous city in the world.  In year 2007,  around 300 people were killed,  but because the war between drug gangs and the government, Juarez increase the homicides rate in 2008 by more than 100%, 1607 people were killed in 2008 and around 2650 in 2009.

    I am a citizen of this country and this city,  and all I can tell about this environment is : Terror,  terror among the people, suffering among the families that lost some relative, many civil persons   have been lost their lives, people who are not involved in drugs traffic. These violence have been touch all the social status (Students, teachers, families, kids, woman, man, business owners, workers, priests, etc etc)  in all levels.   Just the last weekend 13 students have been killed by a drug gang, it was a massacre, some of these students played football, others has a good school record, they were bright people.  Sodaiho, Bobbie I saw the TV news,  families of these innocent students are suffering, I realize this suffering,  I saw mother cries,  grandfathers cries, I felt bad very bad.  And the authorities  don’t apply justice.  Is like a surrealistic  Terror movie.  

    To go outside the house,  driving in the streets of this city is a risky activity.  You don’t know where a confrontation could be, if a lost bullet could touch you,  or you could be a subject of carjackers or robbery.

     I plan me and my family left this city in near future.

     As a Buddhist i want  Sangha meditate and think about this city and these families, think and believe that peace could be a reality in this city soon.

   A vow to you  Bobby, Sodaiho, Roberto