November 2020. A member of my dissertation committee and the Buddhist Chaplaincy Department Chair at the University of the West, Dr. Jitsujo Gauthier had posted an open position at a non-profit organization called Zen Peacemakers International. I was finishing up a semester as an adjunct faculty at the university and had no classes or jobs lined up for spring. I asked Jitsujo about ZPI. “You should apply,” she said, “It’s a great organization.” On December 7, I was hired as the Programs and Membership Director. Since then, I’ve discovered that Jitsujo was right. ZPI is indeed a wonderful organization, born of true compassion and built on the deep practice of the Three Tenets. But more than that, it has become a family to me in such a short period that feels like a lifetime. Especially to the two dharma brothers, Hōden and Geoff, I have grown emotionally so close. Together we have built a team of (whom I call) the “Happy Few.” There is now a bond that will not break.
As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of my life, I feel bittersweet, with my little heart simultaneously bursting with so much gratitude. The ZPI community has taught me so much, more than I could have ever imagined. I have met so many amazing practitioners of different faiths and walks of life. I am so rich because of all the encounters I’ve had through ZPI. But my special thanks still go to the two brothers, and now Chloe, a dharma sister who has come on board as the new staff. As I think of them, I wish to offer the following adaption of a section from King Henry’s speech in Shakespeare’s play (Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3):
We few, we happy few, we band of siblings;
For they to-day that have shared laughter and tears with me
Shall be my eternal siblings; be they ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle their condition;
And those elsewhere now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their personage cheap whiles any speaks
That worked with me the bond that never breaks.
The truth of impermanence stands; yet the bond is eternal. Well, there is no separation, to begin with. Is this a kōan? Maybe I contemplate on it during the month-long Ango Sesshin next month.
I’ll still be a ZPI member, so you’ll be seeing me around when I return from Sesshin in July and onward. Remain connected.
With a heartful of gratitude and love,
Micka Myōshin Moto-Sanchez