A Programs Update
As we approach the annual summer interim (AZC is closed Aug. 7-17), we have paused all in-person practice at our temple. It is disappointing and frustrating to all of us to have to retreat from practicing together, but the practice leadership decided to respond to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID 19 by pausing our long-awaited phased re-opening.
We had planned many wonderful practice opportunities, starting with an in-person sangha work day and lunch, timed to welcome our visitors, Rev. Kokyo Henkel and Rev. Shoho Kuebast, who will be with us from Aug. 20 until Rohatsu sesshin. Kokyo is scheduled to lead a Genzo-e sesshin beginning the week after his arrival in Texas. Of course, everyone wants to know if our events, in-person retreats, and our regular sitting practice will be able to go forward in person after interim.
The answer is that we don’t know at the time of this writing. Though we require everyone entering AZC to be vaccinated (and provide proof of vaccination), and we required masks during our last in-person daylong retreat, there was one person present who subsequently tested positive for COVID. There is some risk associated with removing masks to eat or drink, with chanting, and with the inability to social distance in the zendo and other spaces in the temple.
We will be assessing risk and consulting with our visiting teacher, Rev. Kokyo, in the days ahead. (Please see the protocols developed for the AZC Office.) Updates will be provided on the website and by newsletter as conditions clarify and decisions follow.
In the meantime, we ask that all questions concerning practice events be directed to the Tanto, who can be reached by email ([email protected]) or direct message on the Discord server.