New Year's Greetings from the teachers

 Winter garden at Blue Mountain Zendo

Winter garden at Blue Mountain Zendo

Dear sangha friends,

Looking out the window at the brilliant white snow, blue sky, green cedars and hemlocks, the mind cannot help but release the multitude of worries that throng in their pressing dance. Let them dance, don’t tell them just to go away, because they are the upwelling of our deepest love: of humanity, of the swimming, walking and flying creatures, of oceans, forests, this great earth. Our worries are not trivial. But they are contracted, tensed around fear, anger and self-clinging. As this New Year turns towards the light, let’s dance in the snow with our worries and with each other. Toss me your worry, and I’ll toss you mine. Watch them burst into sunlit particles like snow-clumps blown from the treetops. Beneath the snow lie dormant bulbs and roots waiting to push new growth upward and outward, as our deep aspiration to awaken swells and yearns to be expressed, through each of us in our particularity, always with and for all beings.

On the day of New Year’s Eve we left home at Blue Mountain around 1:00 and it had been snowing heavily since 11:00, but we were going on the assumption that it was raining in Vancouver as reported. Still snowing through Maple Ridge, still snowing on Highway 1, still snowing in downtown Vancouver as we went in the Vancouver Art Gallery, still snowing as we came out two hours later, still snowing in Kitsilano as we went out to eat and after drove carefully to the zendo on very messy streets. Not so much snow at the zendo. We thought virtually no one would show up, but gradually more and more arrived, and others left after a while, with a total of 53, and a circle of about 30 there for the midnight bell-ringing. We were moved once again by the sincerity of people's choice to come and sit in stillness with others on New Year's Eve, after a year of such deeply troubling events, with the intent to cultivate a peaceful heart and a peaceful world. As in previous years, several people came without prior connection to a sangha—a reminder that our small storefront zendo and our practice in community reach out farther than we imagine.

Let’s pause to feel our gratitude for the Triple Treasure: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as we go forward into the always unknown future, step by step, breath by breath, vow by vow.

With deep gratitude for your practice and warm wishes for health and well-being, peace and joy, to you and all beings,

Myoshin Kate McCandless
Shinmon Michael Newton