Zen Peacemaker Affiliate
Shining Bright Lotus Meditation Society
Shining Bright Lotus Meditation Society
Our mission is to foster a diverse, inclusive community dedicated to Buddhist teachings that promote personal and interpersonal healing and ethical and compassionate action.
Tell us a bit about how your group was concieved
I (Ekai) have been part of Hollow Bones Zen under the leadership of Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi since 2012. I was ordained in 2018. From 2019 - 2022 I was the executive director. I left to form a local sangha in NY as part of the Hollow Bones Zen lineage with the intention of developing a sangha devoted to diversity and social action. The core 30 members have all done jukai with Hollow Bones Zen.
How many members do you serve? 80
Tell us about one exciting project, program, or other offering you are currently working on.
We will be training a cohort of priests next year which will be the second year for some and the first year for the rest. We launched online practice periods this year, twice annually, our winter practice period - eight weeks, will be devoted to the Satipathana Sutra. We look forward to continuing to develop our annual retreat at All Nation's Gathering Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It will settle as a five day retreat. We are adding a staff retreat to follow immediately after for two days of silence!
How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement?
Not-knowing is an essential aspect of Jun Po Roshi's core teaching Mondo Zen Facilitation. There are two koans of Mondo Zen devoted to Not-knowing. Bearing Witness is a practice I am introducing after completing a Street Retreat for Rohatsu with Joshin Byrnes. Likely this will be an annual practice that will be introduced to the sangha. We're considering requiring it for the the priest training. Taking Action began for me as the ED of Hollow Bones Zen. I was able to publish a statement in support of Black Lives Matter by the clergy leadership. This was the first time in 20 years the clergy ever did anything like this. We then began to hold bearing witness circles after the death of George Floyd. My first retreat with Shining Bright Lotus was funded by the Lenz Foundation specifically for a diverse audience, which occurred back in March of this year followed by a 12 week leadership training. I'm in the process of writing up the report for this to complete the grant cycle. The intention is to continue to move towards social action as an organization.
What is the most meaningful challenge your organization Faces?
How to attract a diverse audience. Historically, our sangha was dominated by white males. We continue to engage the topic with the leadership and POC as to how to attract new people.
For more information: joelkreisberg@shiningbrightlotus.org
Shining Bright Lotus Meditation Society -
Chatham, NY