Dear supporter of Empty Hand Zen Center,
Our beloved teacher’s announcement of her cancer recurrence and the absence of any effective treatment to stem its progress is profoundly saddening and unsettling for all of us. On behalf of the Center’s Board of Directors, I am writing to share with you the steps -- some already taken, some yet to be implemented -- to support Ji-on Susan through the coming difficult period and to secure a continued strong thread of Zen practice at the Center.
As I write this, arrangements are being made for the at-home healthcare and personal care that Susan will require in the coming weeks. The Board is committed to doing whatever it can to support our teacher’s ease and comfort. In the next few days, we will make available a website where updates of Susan's situation will be posted and where well wishes and expressions of support can be left by you.
In the coming weeks, the Board will ensure a smooth transition as Susan formally steps away from her institutional responsibilities as Head Teacher and EHZC Board President. The improving health of Myozan Dennis has permitted and encouraged Susan to recommend him to the Board as Head Teacher; this matter and the election of a new interim Board President will be taken up at our next Board meeting on January 5th; results of that meeting will be broadcast via e-mail to you.
In January, while Shuho Catherine Spaeth is away furthering her novice priest training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and while Dennis continues his recovery, we have ensured that our usual Sunday and weekday evening (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) schedules will be maintained through the commitment of several volunteers from our senior membership, assisted by Dennis and visiting teacher, Cynthia Kear. Through the months of February and March, Kyosho Valorie Beer of San Francisco Zen Center will be in residence, supporting daily practice and assisting the Head Teacher. In April, Catherine will return from her three-month training at Tassajara and will resume residence at EHZC, replacing Kyosho Valorie.
In spite of our best efforts, the Board is aware that Susan's condition, the vagaries of winter weather, minor illnesses and the generally unforeseen will likely force modifications to our plans. We ask for your understanding and support as we all navigate through these uncharted waters.
With palms together,
Jeff Kigyo Silver, EHZC Board Chairman