Like many communities around the world, at Open Mind Zen Naples we are concerned about the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 and are monitoring the unfolding events related to the virus.
We believe that a mindful approach to an evolving situation includes using an appropriate amount of caution, combined with ongoing care for the safety and well-being of our community.
For that reason, the Board of Directors of OMZN met this morning and has decided to suspend all activities at the Center effective today until the end of the month.
Therefore the Special Events scheduled this weekend are also cancelled and will be held at a later date. We will provide further updates about future activities as we learn more.
As we will not be able to sit together on Sunday, we suggest that if you were planning to sit with us: Sunday at 10 am let’s sit together remotely at our individual place. 30 minutes of zazen, if you can followed by a 5 minutes walking meditation then 25 minutes of zazen.
If we find we need to extend the postponement of activities even further, we anticipate commencing Dharma talks by videoconference, and will update you on this later.
In this troubled period around the world, it is our duty as Zen practitioners to extend our compassion and empathy to all people suffering from the virus. It is also our duty to take care of ourselves and to avoid to be exposed to the virus and to transmit it to people around us.
This is the time to practice the Three Tenets as developed by the late Roshi Bernie Tetsugen Glassman:
– Not-Knowing: is the practice of letting go of fixed ideas about yourself, others, and the universe.
– Bearing Witness: is the practice to be present for the joy and – in that case – the suffering of the world.
– Compassionate Action: is the action that arises out of Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness, and which fosters the healing of the world and ourselves as a path of practice.
This is also an opportunity for us to practice with responsibility and mindfulness:
– If you have any flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, respiratory congestion, stay home and take care of yourself.
– Being mindful about covering your cough without using your hands,
– Being mindful not to touch your face.
– Being mindful to wash your hands after going to a store, after using the bathroom, before each meals… For at least 20 seconds.
Our Sangha sister Karen suggested a wonderful way to practice Metta when mindfully washing our hands:
“May I/you be filled with lovingkindness.
May I/you be safe from inner and outer dangers.
May I/you be well in body and mind.
May I/you be at ease and happy.”
The OMZN board of directors will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and will communicate any changes as needed.
Thank you for being mindful of these precautions so that we can all continue to enjoy the benefits of practicing together.