Update: June 2, 2022
As new cases of COVID-19 in Mason County have dramatically declined since last January’s surge, the Great Wave Zen Sangha Board recently considered whether it was time to re-open weekly in-person meetings for zazen. Unfortunately, another increase in new cases in May continues to prevent us from reopening our doors. The Board will continue to monitor case counts.
While weekly zazen at Myogenji is not yet possible, Great Wave does host virtual zazen meetings via Zoom each Wednesday evening from 7:10 PM to 8:15 PM. If you would like to participate, please complete our Event Registration Form. If you are new to Zen, someone will contact you to arrange an orientation (which also takes place via Zoom).
Great Wave will also offer two in-person retreat opportunities this summer, the first one in June and the second one in August. Please see our Events Calendar for more details.
Last night, the GWZS Board of Directors considered the wisdom of continuing to offer weekly in-person sitting at Myogenji, given the considerable surge in COVID-19 infections, a vaccination rate of less than 60% in Mason County, and the very highly contagious nature of the Delta strain. As a result, we decided that it would be best to once again cease holding in-person meetings in the zendo until there is sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that no harm will be done by coming together in person.
I know this news will come as a disappointment for many of you, but it was, I feel, the right decision. We considered whether simply adding a masking requirement to our current vaccination requirement would suffice to keep all safe for in-person meetings. However, masking alone is not necessarily enough for a practice space as small as Myogenji’s.
Please Get Vaccinated
In addition to sharing the above news, the GWZS Board wishes to implore anyone who is purposely avoiding vaccination (or among the “vaccine-hesitant”) to reconsider their position. All arguments against vaccination, except in instances involving children and very rare, pre-existing medical conditions, are unfounded. (Tested vaccines for children may be available late this year or early next year.) No valid scientific evidence exists that would suggest getting vaccinated carries a greater risk to one’s health than would be the case with any other vaccine. Indeed, scientifically possible risks associated with vaccines are far, far less than those associated with getting sick with COVID-19. Those who voluntarily refuse vaccination are largely responsible for the current resurgence of the coronavirus. They unnecessarily put their own and others’ lives at risk of illness; serious, long-term debilitations; and even death. To do this is to violate the Pure Precept to Do No Harm and the first Grave Precept to avoid taking life.
If you have been led to believe that vaccines are dangerous or ineffective, please consult your primary healthcare provider for reliable information. Be aware that anecdotal “evidence” that vaccines are unsafe is not evidence in a scientific sense. (You may wish to consult credible debunking services such as Snopes or PolitiFact to determine whether anti-vaccine claims are valid grounds for refusing the vaccine.) It may also help to understand the mechanisms that allow COVID vaccines to work. If you would like more information about that, please use our Contact Form, and we will try to connect you to reliable sources of information.
—Gendo Roshi, on behalf of the Great Wave Zen Sangha Board of Directors