Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

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Sangha Bulletin Board

Red Cedar Zen Community members are warmly invited to add information here about community activism and events and about Dharma studies and thoughts related to our lives as Zen practitioners. You can also leave encouraging comments and questions for other people. Note that you must be logged in as an RCZC members to add posts or make comments.
  • Friday, March 23, 2018 8:54 AM | Anonymous

    Dear Sangha Members,

    If you would like to march together tomorrow at the March for Our Lives peaceful responsive to school shootings and to support the young people who have organized more than 800 marches nationally, please meet at 10 across from City Hall at the steps to the library.




  • Thursday, August 10, 2017 7:07 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    This from Community 2 Community. After this was written on of the farm workers involved, Honesto Ibarra, died at Harborview Medical.

    Update on the farm worker human rights crisis underway in our county from Kara Black, BUF Social Justice Committee:

    What Happened This Week
    H2A workers at Sarabanand Farms (all men) have been experiencing the "normal" conditions of serious overwork at the height of the berry picking season and not enough (and poor quality) food. They were not being offered sufficient breaks, and were told that if they missed three days of work, they would be terminated and sent back to Mexico. Because of this pressure, despite the heat and smoke (Sumas reached the "purple" air quality designation last week--dangerous for anyone, even healthy folks, to exert themselves outside), the workers kept working. Several workers collapsed. One worker went into a coma from heat exhaustion exacerbated by poor air quality and ended up at Harborview. This worker died last night.

    Furthermore, Sarabanand Farms had previously not renewed the temporary visas of many (all?) of the workers when they were supposed to--so the workers, while still working for Sarabanand, had become undocumented.

    When workers began collapsing, 70 workers went into the company office to say they needed a shorter work day during the bad conditions, more breaks, more water and better food.  They were all fired on the spot and given 30 minutes to collect their belongings and get off company property.  They requested their paychecks so they would have some money to get home and the company said they would send their final paychecks to their home addresses in Mexico. These men were literally penniless when they were put on the street. They speak no English. This was Saturday morning August 5th

    Police were called about the workers hanging around on the street (perhaps to help them or perhaps to complain about them). After pressure came from police, the company hired a couple of buses that picked up the workers and took them to the Fairhaven Greyhound station--where they were going to be left (no money to buy bus tickets and no visas and no way to communicate--no way they could have gotten home on the bus). Community to Community (C2C), however, was aware of the situation by now, and activists met the buses and told the workers to refuse to get off the buses and demand to be taken back.

    By now, C2C had contacted a local Mexican family of farmers, who agreed to let the workers to sleep on their property while the situation was addressed. This family hires H2A workers and has been aware of for years of the abysmal treatment many of these workers receive locally, and have been very supportive of these workers. This family lives 1.6 miles from Sarabanand Farms.

    The bus drivers decided to leave all the workers at a Mexican grocery store in Everson. C2C and other activists picked them up and carpooled them to the friendly family's farm, where the began to establish an encampment.

    The farmers then marched the 1.6 miles from the encampment to Sarabanand Farms and staged a demonstration (also on Saturday August 5th). When workers still at the farm saw the demonstration, several more left their jobs and joined them--so the population at the encampment has grown to 120. There are still about 500 workers at the farm.

    The police presence during this march and demonstration was large and unfriendly and clearly attempting to intimidate workers. Sherrif's deputies, Lynden, Sumas and Everson police were all there. According to allies present, it was clear that these police were working in close collaboration with border patrol/ICE/homeland security.

    However, when the media presence increased (this situation is getting national media attention now--lots of media on-site), the police backed off. Rosalinda (Director of Community to Community) was told that a permit was required for any future marches or demonstrations. Maru Mora of Latino Advocacy is the primary media contact for the situation, and Community to Community is acting as organizer and resource provider.

    Rosalinda reports that the encampment is developing well. The The farmers at the encampment have received a number of key donations/loans--tents, blankets, two generators, a refrigerator and two freezers. C2C rented toilets and has been providing transportation.

    Last night, C2C supporters transported all the workers in the encampment to Mt. Vernon to meet with Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ)--the brand new local farmworker union. All these workers joined this union last night--though it is unclear what this might or might not mean in their futures, given their H2A worker histories.

    Legal aid has been on site at the encampment since Saturday (along with C2C staff). There likely will be a legal report tonight that will help dictate the next steps. In the meantime, the lawyers are busy taking declarations from all the workers.

    What's Happening Soon & How to Help

    Rosalinda thinks the encampment is likely to go on at least another week or more.  There likely will be a another march & demonstration by the farmworkers tonight or tomorrow.  The legal report will help determine next steps.

    There's a town hall type meeting tonight at the Leopold at 6:00. Please attend.

    Check Community to Community's Facebook page ( for updates on the needs at the encampment--food (prepared is best with limited refrigeration requirements), charcoal, and coolers (with ice/ice packs) are welcome, among other things listed. Also, garbage pick ups are most welcome, as there is no garbage service for them.
    Donate. Cash is needed to renew rental on the toilets, gas for worker transportation, some groceries, maintaining the portable hot spots they are using, and for some office supplies. Cash donations are problematic as the farmworkers don't have an official internal encampment structure at this point. As Community to Community is paying for these things out of pocket, please send donations to Community to Community. You can donate by paypal at their site or drop off or mail checks*** to Community to Development, 203 West Holly Street, Suite 317, Bellingham, WA 98225

    ***Note: C2C, while a licensed State of WA nonprofit, is not a federal 501(c)3. If you would like a tax deduction for the donation, please make your check out to their fiscal sponsor, "Food First" (a large sister organization in Seattle with C2C donation in the memo line but still mail the checks to the C2C office.

  • Thursday, June 08, 2017 11:56 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)
    Submitted by Marilyn Withers. Join the Bellingham community and other sangha members in a march for the climate starting at 10am at the Bellingham Farmer's Market.
    What do do earlier that morning? Our weekly zazen meeting is 6am - 8:30am giving us time for breakfast at the Co-Op and conversation before heading down to the Farmer's Market.


    Last week, Trump announced that the US would exit the Paris Agreement. Since then, everyone from US mayors and governors to global leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to this historic climate deal — and dozens have stepped up to go further.

    On Saturday, June 10th, we’re mobilizing at City Halls and State Houses across the country to defend the Paris Agreement and show that we are still ready to move our country towards 100% clean energy.

    Click here to find an #ActOnClimate action near you this Saturday.

    We will celebrate those cities, states, and other institutions who have committed to meet or exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement regardless of the US’ involvement — and urge those who haven't committed to take action now.

    The Paris Agreement is far from perfect, but leaving it would be a huge step backwards. Following the hottest year on record we need climate progress — leaving the Paris Agreement is the exact opposite.

    Join us on Saturday and let’s show the world that we’re committed to climate action, with or without Trump.

    Click here to find an #ActOnClimate action near you this Saturday, and let’s move our country towards 100% clean energy.

    Now more than ever it’s important that we come together in our cities and states to fight for climate action. Meaningful leadership has always come from the grassroots, and in the face of a climate-denying President, local, state, and regional progress is the only thing we’ll see.

    On April 29th, we focused on Washington, DC for the Peoples Climate March, and over 200,000 people showed up. We need that same energy now, distributed across the country.

    Join us Saturday and let’s keep building our local movements for climate justice.

    See you soon,

    P.S. Can’t make it SaturdayShare the page of actions now and make sure that even if you can’t come, your friends do.

    It takes everyone to change everything — and now, more than ever before, everything is at stake. Become a donor to the Peoples Climate Movement today and keep growing the resistance to the attacks on our climate, our communities, and our families.

  • Sunday, April 16, 2017 3:13 PM | Kenneth Oates (Administrator)

    The Seattle March for Science is April 22, starting in Cal Anderson Park, 1425 Broadway, Seattle, at 10 am with speeches and a rumored appearance by Pearl Jam followed by a march downtown.  This is part of the national March for Science going on this Earth Day and is a reaction to the current administration's rejection of science in decision making, especially as it relates to environmental issues, and to the administration's efforts to require scientists who receive government funding to subject their results to political vetting before publication.  Car caravan/ride sharing leaving from Burlington park and ride at 8 am for all interested.  Contact:

  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 8:37 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Our sangha committee looking into the local effects of national changes and issues around social justice (thank you Andrea, Marilyn, Dale, and Jaren!) recommends participation in the "Dignity Dialogues" organized by the Community to Community organization. 

    These will be held on 3/27, 4/3, and 4/17 at 7pm at First Congregational Church (2401 Cornwall Ave. in Bellingham).

    For more info: 360-738-0893 Note especially their impressive list of social justice opportunities on their events page.

  • Sunday, February 26, 2017 7:21 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Submitted by Marilyn Withers:

    A Zen Master's Advice on Coping with Trump

    The lead video includes inspiring images of Civil Rights Movement marchers pausing to pray on the road and much more. Very well done.

  • Friday, February 03, 2017 7:58 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    clipped from:

    On Not Knowing What’s Next

    Don’t get drawn into the craziness and hype. There’s a way to equanimity and action.

    By Norman FischerJan 20, 2017

    On Not Knowing What’s NextPhoto by Thomas Hawk |

    Today, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th president. This is an unprecedented event: Trump’s lack of previous political experience and his unusual style of rhetoric is completely different from anything we’ve seen before in a victorious presidential candidacy. No one quite knows what to expect from his tenure, although it’s perhaps an understatement to say that many expect very bad things. He did, after all, lose the popular vote by some three million votes. So he rises to power in a very divided and politically disturbing moment.

    Dealing with uncertainty in the face of potential catastrophe (like illness, old age, and death) is basic to dharma practice. In Zen especially we have the koan phrase “not knowing is most intimate.” This means what it sounds like it means. We don’t know what will happen, and we don’t even know what is happening now. We never know; even when we think we know, we don’t know. Not knowing can make us nervous, even panicky. But when, with our practice, we settle into not knowing, with some wisdom and courage, we see that not knowing is intimate. Not knowing, we have no choice but to plunge into reality as it is.

    In Soto Zen we take the practice of not knowing to mean that no matter what happens we will continue our practice with strength and devotion. We know what to do. Practice means not only the formal practices of zazen, study, and retreat, but also responding moment by moment, all day and every day, to conditions as we find them, with the values and attitudes we have long cultivated in our practice: compassion for all, generosity, kindness, respect, patience, and courage. We may well be in for rocky times. But dharma practitioners know how to maintain stability in such times. We know what it feels like to fall into the emotional maelstrom created by self-centeredness, and we know how to avoid such a fall, or cope when we have fallen. 

    For many decades American politics has been becoming increasingly spectacular in the literal sense of that word: like a spectacle, a show. Maybe Trump’s expertise as a reality TV star, and the consequences of his style, will finally inspire us to stop being spectators and begin being citizens. This is my hope. As citizens we will have to pay less attention to political hype and more attention to actual political details. We will have to be better informed and more critical. We will have to determine when it is effective and crucial to respond to events by writing, posting, agitating, and organizing. We will have to call local and state representatives, registering protests as necessary in the spirit of dharma: consistently, patiently, peacefully, and with respect for all. There will be many opportunities for creativity in our political expression. Staying close to our practice will help us to seize these possibilities.

    All this amounts to simple mindfulness. Usually we think of mindfulness as awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Yes, mindfulness begins there. But true mindfulness, from a Zen perspective, involves mindfulness of who we really are, our true selves—which includes all others and the world. Paying attention to the world with wisdom, caring for the world as ourselves, and acting compassionately for the benefit of others will be our practice now more than ever.

    While many of us may well have a sense of great urgency in this political moment, we simply can’t allow ourselves to spend the next four years in a state of dismay and psychological teetering—even despair. With our sitting practice, our dharma study, our strong attention to friendship, and all the wholesome social and personal associations we participate in, we will build an alternative world. I am not talking about withdrawing from society; quite the contrary. But socially, spiritually, we can’t be drawn into the craziness. It is our duty to maintain and express a sane view. Our dharma communities will also be more important than ever, as it is from these communities that we will reach out to other dharma groups, to other spiritual and religious groups, and beyond. 

    The most terrible possibility of the post-inaugural world—the one most feared by many people I know—is a serious increase in hatred, violence, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia, the usual forces that lie sleeping in any mass society, and when stirred up, can give rise to forms of fascism. I realize that fascism does happen. But I refuse to assume, absent hard evidence, that that’s where we are headed. My guess is—and my hope and faith is—that the quotient of blind hatred in America will remain more or less the same, and that in the end basic human decency will rule the day. 

    Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

    Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen priest who lives at Green Gulch Farm, a Zen center in California, where he is the head of the practice program.

  • Monday, January 02, 2017 8:35 AM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    Our colleague Susan Moon in the Bay Area is giving a Tricycle Online retreat on the precepts - it's a series of four 20 minute Dharma Talks.

    I think you have to be a Tricycle Online member - this is well worth it. $10 a year or something. Gives access to a vast array of articles, video dharma talks like this and so on.

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