Thank You


Dear Springs Mountain Sangha,

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I find my heart full of gratitude for you. That you come together, week in and week out, and have done so for twenty years!  That you give so generously of your time, your effort, your patience, your hearts and minds, in order to sustain a community of mutual awakening. That you have entrusted me with some authority to teach here, in this place, with and among you, and have supported my work both financially and in so many other ways. You made me a teacher.
In particular, I want to thank you for the way that you have greeted the news that our founding teacher, Joan Sutherland, had given me transmission in our Zen lineage, naming me a Roshi.  So many of you came forward with enthusiasm saying, “I’m in!  I want to commit myself more fully to this Way, to awakening together. And what exactly is a Roshi?”
That response said to me that for you, as for me, this was not so much about recognition, not so much about an achievement, as it was about an invitation: an opening of possibility to further develop the power of our tradition, our practices and our communing to come forth and bring joy, ease suffering, co-create wholeness in this world.
You created a lovely celebration, and that was a gorgeous marker for us—a marker of our maturity as a community and our readiness to meet the challenges of this time with the clear eye, open heart, courage and skillful means offered by our Zen tradition.   Let’s do that.
Our all-sangha meeting approved a budget and a steering committee for 2018, and we looked at the range of offerings for the coming year. These will soon be posted on the SMS website, and in the short range, we’ll be holding our Lit by a Star meditation retreat December 8 and 9.  It’s a great time to settle into some silence and stillness together, and there’s still time to register.  Details are at
Thank you!

Sarah Bender