We at Puget Sound Zen Center, like so many in our country and indeed the world, feel anguish at the tragic loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and of so many other Black lives – to violence stemming from systemic racism which has been a part of this country’s legacy since its very beginning.
Though we feel we are a welcoming community, the truth is we at PSZC have not put enough work into the issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, and bias. We commit to being present with these issues in a way that transforms our sangha and the wider community. We commit to directing the fruits of our practice toward acknowledging and reducing discrimination based on race in our sangha, our community, and our world.
Every day we vow to transform the three poisons, greed, hatred, and ignorance. Surely these are the poisonous roots that have fueled racism for millennia – greed for wealth and superiority; hatred of the other; and ignorance of our fundamental commonality. How shall we transform these poisons?
Every day we chant “Beings are numberless, I vow to liberate them.” How shall we liberate ourselves from the unconscious biases we hold? How shall we liberate others from their biases, and how shall we liberate others from the harm caused by racism?
As an institution we must do our part. We recognize that the work will be difficult and uncomfortable at times, but we are committed to that work, guided by a vision of a world in which racism, hatred, and greed are transformed into compassion, love, and inclusivity.
Koshin Christopher Cain, Abbot
Genko Kathy Blackman, Adjunct Teacher
Board of Directors
With every sit, we take four vows. This celebration – Juneteenth – is itself a dharma gate we can enter.
It carries a legacy of greed, hatred and ignorance, and an opportunity for us to know nothing, be
present, and better embody the Buddha’s way.
Juneteenth is a celebration of the end of slavery.
On his arrival in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, General Granger read General Order Number 3, announcing that all slaves are free.
He had the backing of federal troops to ensure this order was implemented. Celebrations arose spontaneously, then became an annual tradition – spreading across Texas and, over time, across the country.
But dig deeper. The significance of Juneteenth is as complicated as our country’s history.
Ready for goosebumps? Listen to and watch this powerful rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
In that song, we can hear and see the impact of what has described as America’s Racial Karma.
We invite you to be present to the voices quoted in this Crosscut article. They share:
Join us as we enter this dharma gate. Honor the day; don’t let it slip by. Read, listen, sit… we will soon be adding some of our favorite podcasts and articles here.
Support black businesses in the celebration, and recognize the depths of it.
May we act to transform our country’s racial karma.
– from the Racial Healing Group