February 13, 2017, 9:59 pm ~ by Sokei in news
Roshi went to offer a New Year's Blessing (Chinese Lunar Calendar timing February New Year) at the Northwest Culture and Language Academy in Langley on Whidbey Island at the invitation of founder and director Josette Hendrix. Josette has been a long time attendee and supporter of Tahoma Sogenji San Zen Monastery and we were pleased to be invited again. This is the sixth year a monk from Tahoma has offered a blessing and the second year in a row Roshi has lead the ceremony. A large crowd of local community members came and chanted the heart sutra and offered incense. We saw Shojun and her children, Natasha and her son, Momo Freehill, and Erica Rayner-Horn among many other local supporters. Roshi made an encouraging speech about the 6th patriarch saying to let go of all concerns within and let go of all attachments without. Roshi said in this time there is terror and refugees and many people are afraid, and not to ignore what is happening but also not to be angry and have an emotional reaction about it that clouds our seeing the whole picture and understanding how we can help. Roshi said to have courage hope and faith. He also said some people are doing certain things they should not do, upon which he bowed.
Roshi was very happy to have two years in a row where he can see people in the community who don't come to Tahoma but care about clarity. He told everyone we are having sesshin, aligning and clearing in order to meet these world problems head on, and he hoped everyone would have a chance to do this. After 45 minutes giving bright energy to everyone present Roshi went back to Kosesshin. We are grateful to Josette and the Northwest Language Academy and Cultural Center for continuing to spread the light within though inner seeing and sharing. Josette shared with Roshi the story of a young 16 year old blind Frenchman who helped save people during the resistance in WWII. Josette said his description of the light within was a most concrete and clear reading on this inner experience. The book is called Let There Be Light. You can see more about Josette's programs of cultural understanding to promote world peace here: https://www.nwlacc.org