Dear Sangha members and Dharma friends,
On behalf of the Zen Studies Society, I want to express my brokenhearted dismay regarding the attacks against Asians in America. In the recent violence in Atlanta, six of the eight who perished were Asian women. During the past year, reported hate crimes against Asians in this country jumped 833 percent from 2019. According to Stop Asian and Pacific Islander Hate, a group that collected data during 2020, 68 percent of those incidents targeted women.
I want to thank Hiroko Makabe for sharing with us the words of Dr. Claire Green-Forde, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers, New York City, “that the increase in race-based attacks against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders this past year … is rooted in both Anti-Asian and Anti-Black rhetoric [that] has been brewing for centuries and was flamed over the past few years by hate-filled speech from the highest office in this country … and continues to be fed by white supremacy.”
We stand in solidarity with our Asian and Pacific Islander Sangha members and Dharma friends, many of whom have experienced verbal abuse, job discrimination, physical assaults, and worse. We remember a beloved member of our community, Mia Ihara, who was the victim of a hate crime and who passed away on May 7, 2020, Nyogen Senzaki Sensei’s memorial day. Her ashes will join those of her father in the Sangha Meadow at Dai Bosatsu Zendo.
Anti-Asian hatred has a long and shameful history in America, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the herding of Japanese into concentration camps during World War II (Nyogen Senzaki Sensei and Sokei-an Shigetsu Sasaki Roshi among them).
All of us owe a huge Dharma debt to the pioneers who brought Zen to the West. Even as we commemorate our ancestral teachers from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet and other Asian countries, we recognize the many ways in which they endured the unendurable in order to offer their lives to the Dharma.
To requite their beneficence, particularly at this time of escalating violence in our country, we must work toward creating the kind of just and harmonious society envisioned by the Buddha.
Let us offer our support and protection to our Asian and Pacific Islander Dharma relations, and let us commit to hearing their voices. Hand in hand, let us renew our vows to save all beings; to extinguish all delusions; to master the Dharma teachings; and to walk the Buddha’s endless way.
Shinge Sherry Chayat Roshi
We invite sangha members to participate in our Engaged Buddhism discussion and study groups on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. ET:
- Engaged Buddhism Dharma Discussion with Jifu Devyani Sadh. Learn More
- Racial Solidarity Sangha with Kanchi Lucía Oliva Hennelly and Zuiken Inago Scott Rebellon. Learn More
- Critical Buddhist Study with Yuki Eric Michels. Learn More
- Engaged Buddhism Open Meeting with Jikyo Bonnie Shoultz Sensei and Dr. Michael Faynn Learn More