Make a pledge.
The end of summer and the beginning of fall felt like more than just a seasonal transition at Yokoji. The summer storms are behind us and our defenses have been tested and fortified. The work still continues in the aftermath of the fire and floods but Yokoji has now reemerged and is ready to face the future. Guest groups have started coming back in after we closed the doors for retreats over the summer months. We are back on track with our year-round training schedule and regular sesshins.
The last year has been somewhat chaotic and we are grateful for all the support we have received. Without your financial help, as well as the time and energy of those who volunteered, it is unlikely we would have made it to this point. As we step beyond the immediate aftermath and look forward, we ask for the sangha, our wider family, to look forward with us. A lot of time, money and effort has gone into getting Yokoji back on its feet. What we need now more that ever is the presence of the sangha. We need you here on Sunday mornings, during sesshins and for mid-week or weekend visits for both work practice and zazen. Many people have been reticent to visit while the center felt so vulnerable, but this is the time to come together as a sangha, as a community, and make use of and maintain this treasure.
One of the best ways for you to support the center is to become a member of Yokoji. For those of you that are already members, please consider becoming either a Friend of Yokoji or a Temple Guardian. We have enclosed a handout explaining the different levels of commitment along with the pledge that is requested and the benefits of doing so. In short, becoming a member or pledging as a Friend or Guardian provides Yokoji with financial security as well as giving you reduced or zero rates for overnight stays and sesshin. As a member, we encourage you to take advantage of your one night a month free stay. This means you could, for example, come up on a Saturday, stay overnight and take part in the Sunday program at no additional cost beyond your monthly membership dues. Friends and Guardians are gifted a number of free sesshin days throughout the year as a token of our appreciation. We are asking you to ramp up your participation in the programs at Yokoji and becoming a member, or pledging as a Friend or Guardian, is the perfect way to do this. Take advantage of the discounts and free overnight stays and make time in the upcoming year for your practice and for Yokoji.
Although we are emphasizing participation and membership, we are always grateful to those of you who choose to support Yokoji through one-time donations. If you would like to contribute through a single donation rather than pledging as a member, Friend of Yokoji or Temple Guardian, you can donate online or mail in a check.
Please come up when possible and know that your participation really does make a difference. Check the website for upcoming events and take note of our popular weekend Beginner's Mind Sesshin which we run on a quarterly basis, as well as the traditional 7-day sesshins in the spring and fall. The training at Yokoji is year-round so even if sesshins are difficult to attend, there are plenty of other opportunities to join in. Make your practice the practice of the sangha as a whole and pledge now.
In deep gratitude,
Tenshin Fletcher Roshi,
Abbot of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center