2021 End of Year Donation Campaign
Help make vivid the interconnectedness of giver, receiver, and gift.
Dear Dharma Friends,
In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic struck we stopped sitting together at our old storefront temple, and held our programs online via Zoom. At the end of 2020 as our lease expired, we abandoned our temple after 12 years and put our cushions and temple furnishings in storage. I am happy that Ancient Dragon Zen Gate will begin to hold events in person Sunday mornings and Monday evenings at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago, starting in late November. All Ancient Dragon events will remain accessible by Zoom for our many online sangha members from more than a dozen states and several foreign countries. We have begun the process of locating and purchasing a location for a new long-term Chicago Ancient Dragon temple. Our temple search team includes architects, a realtor, tech experts, and attorneys. We are preparing for a new building, including interviewing many sangha members about location, programs, and staffing.
The gifts of our sangha members and friends are vital to our ability to offer Zen practice and teaching in Chicago and beyond. Please take this time to make a gift or to increase your current pledge if you are a Supporter already. If you are not currently an Ancient Dragon Supporter, you may visit our home page at www.ancientdragon.org and click on the donate button to make a one-time donation or to begin recurring gifts. If you are a Supporter already and wish to increase your pledge, please send an email to our Treasurer at email@example.com. We are excited to announce that generous donors have made $15,000 in matching pledges for our year-end fundraising campaign. This means that any standalone gifts, pledges of recurring donations by new supporting members, and increases in pledges by existing Supporters during this year end campaign will be doubled. We will begin a capital campaign toward a building purchase in the near future. However, please feel free to make a gift toward the building purchase now by designating your donation for the building fund.
During 2021 Ancient Dragon has provided a robust program of practice and teaching in spite of the pandemic. Zoom has enabled us to provide zazen and Dharma talks Sunday mornings and Monday evenings and zazen each weekday morning. We offer a meditation and recovery program Tuesday evenings. On Thursday evenings we conduct zazen and discussions of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. Thus, we have reached many practitioners.
We also have held all-day sittings with different formats, including sittings held over Zoom, outdoor sittings, and hybrid programs in which participants attended by Zoom or, for fully vaccinated participants, in person at priest Shudo Paula Lazarz’s HealthKick Kung Fu school. Gyoshin Laurel Ross has led several nature walk and haiku events. We have continued to conduct well-attended seminars and classes, including our Guiding Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton’s all-day seminar on the Bodhisattva Transcendent Practices and half-day seminars on Dogen’s Being Time and Joanna Macy’s Deep Time, and on Dogen’s Environmental Teachings and their Link to Faith Practice. Matt Vogel offered classes on
Shitou’s “Song of the Grass Hut,” and Shudo Paula Lazarz led a series of classes on the Noble Eightfold Path. We also host a monthly LGBTQ gathering, a monthly group reading from the monumental Flower Ornament Sutra, and a weekly discussion group on Decolonizing Consciousness, and Anti-racism.
In addition to Dharma talks given by our sangha members, four guest teachers gave several talks each this year. These were Zengyu Paul Discoe, our regular Visiting Teacher, who was a direct disciple of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi; Berkeley Zen Center Abbot Hozan Alan Senauke; preeminent Dogen scholar Steven Heine; and Zenshin Florence Caplow, a Suzuki Roshi lineage teacher and Unitarian Universalist minister, who co-edited The Hidden Lamp, an important anthology of the history of Buddhist women teachers. Brook Ziporyn, professor of Chinese Religion, Philosophy and Comparative Thought at the University of Chicago, gave a talk, “Identical to Buddha, Identical to Dung Beetle”. We hosted a series of talks on practice with racial issues by authors Sarah Valentine, Breeshia Wade, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde, and Chenxing Han spoke about issues of young Asian-American Buddhist practitioners. Former Green Gulch and Tassajara practice leader Hakusho Johan Ostlund, who interned at ADZG, spoke from Vermont where he is starting a Zen group. Siddhesh Mukerji, a former ADZG regular, also spoke from Vermont, where he now teaches at the University. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, renowned successor of San Francisco Zen Center teacher Zenkei Blanche Hartman, spoke about Engaging Whatever Arises. Another successor of Blanche’s, Joan Amaral, Guiding Teacher of Zen Center North Shore near Boston, spoke about Sangha. Taigen’s Dharma brother, Kokyo Henkel spoke about karmic consciousness and what goes beyond. Recordings of all these Dharma talks are available on our website podcast archive page.
In addition to regular Dharma talks at Ancient Dragon, Taigen taught an online course at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley on The Awakening of Mahayana Faith, an important early Chinese Buddhist text. Taigen also contributed the article, “Being Time and Deep Time,” to the recent book A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time. Please help support the development of our lively sangha now, and please join us. I look forward to seeing you at our programs, on Zoom or in person. Together we work to help awaken insight and caring for our fragile world. Thank you for your generous donation.
With humble thanks for your donation,
Director, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. A copy of our IRS Determination Letter is available upon request. Please speak with a tax professional should you have any questions regarding the deductibility of any donation.