2022 End of Year Donation Campaign
Help make vivid the interconnectedness of giver, receiver, and gift.
Dear Dharma Friends,
This has been an exciting year for our sangha. I hope you will consider donating to our end of year fundraising campaign to enable our many in-person, online, and hybrid practice offerings to flourish and to assist us with acquiring a new long-term temple space.
We have many updates to share with you about this year and what our next steps will be to foster the Suzuki Roshi Soto Zen lineage in Chicago. We have continued in-person practice at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, even as we work to select our next permanent temple location. After the two plus years of remote practice during the pandemic, resuming in-person sitting, in addition to our continued online practice offerings, has been a gift. Starting in February we moved to a single room on Ebenezer’s third floor, allowing us to leave out our cushions and altar and to operate as a dedicated zendo. This has created a warm space for in-person practice. We continue to refine our hybrid experience for online attendees, a top priority.
We continue to provide regular practice offerings for discussion and zazen. We offer zazen, services, and Dharma talks on Sunday morning and Monday evening, morning zazen each weekday, a weekly Meditation and Recovery group, a weekly Decolonizing Consciousness discussion group, a monthly group reading of the Flower Ornament Sutra, a monthly Nagarjuna study group, and a quarterly LGBTQ+ group meeting.
Our sangha is determined to find a permanent temple location in Chicago, and our Temple Search Committee has been visiting and analyzing prospective locations to prepare us to make an appropriate and timely offer on the right building. Throughout this year we have taken pains to ensure that all are heard in the process by holding community meetings and open Board meetings. Our next step during the search will be to move into a more accessible interim location in Lincoln Square, the first floor of a building owned by one of our Dharma teachers, Hogetsu Laurie Belzer. It is a short walk from the Western Brown Line stop and will be easier for sangha members to attend. Our new Lincoln Square Zendo also will permit more robust in-person practice offerings.
Our commitment to the Dharma continued to deepen this year in a multitude of ways. Three sangha leaders attended the Branching Streams conference of Suzuki Roshi lineage sanghas in Austin, Texas. Several members of our sangha attended a Hiroshima Day vigil in Evanston, co-sponsored by the Buddhist Peace Fellowship of Chicago. Our practice leaders have led four half-day sittings, and Taigen will lead an all-day sitting to open our new Lincoln Square Zendo. We held our annual Segaki ceremony at the end of October to feed the hungry ghosts. Guest speakers throughout the year have included prominent Dharma teachers Florence Caplow, Alan Senauke, Reirin Gumbel, and Byakuren Judith Ragir. We hosted talks by eminent Buddhist scholars Steven Heine, Dale Wright, Brook Ziporyn, and Chris Ives.
We are fortunate that younger members are taking on important sangha positions. Gerrie Griffin is our new temple Ino, managing the zendo functions. Dylan Toropov is the Teacher’s Assistant. Beau Golwitzer is now our sangha Secretary. By year’s end Alex Bernstein will be our new Temple Director and Wade Wheatley will be our new Board Chair/President.
Ancient Dragon members include about a dozen chaplains who carry out Bodhisattva work in hospitals and other venues. These include Howard Ruan, who was interviewed in “Tricycle” about their work as a Buddhist chaplain (see the article at https://tricycle.org/article/chaplain-howard-ruan). Sara Lytle continues work as a chaplain after relocating to Cambridge, England, while remaining an ADZG Board member online.
Our Guiding Dharma Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton offered three well-attended seminars this year on the Chinese teacher Hongzhi, on Dogen’s Extensive Record, and on Huayan Buddhist teachings. Taigen also contributed the article, “Dōgen’s Vision of the Environment and his Practice of Devotion and Faith” to the book, The Theory and Practice of Zen Buddhism: A Festschrift for Steven Heine.
This end-of-year fundraising appeal is when Ancient Dragon Zen Gate raises the funds necessary to continue our programs. Please consider donating to either our ongoing operations fund or to our building fund, which will be used for a new long-term temple space. Our year-end fundraising period, continues through the end of January. A total of fifteen thousand dollars has been pledged by anonymous donors to match other gifts. In addition, if you are not already a Supporting Member who has pledged to make recurring donations to Ancient Dragon, you may become one by visiting our home page at www.ancientdragon.org and clicking on the pledge button. The annualized pledges of new Supporting Members will qualify for matching gifts from the $15,000 fund. Similarly, increases to existing Supporting Members’ pledges will qualify for matching gifts. Please email our Treasurer at treasurer.ancientdragon.org in order to increase your recurring donations. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate NFP is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax deductible.
We are deeply grateful for the support of our friends and members. Thank you for being part of our sangha.
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.