Annual Appeal: A Celebration of Spiritual Friendship

Ananda said to the Buddha: Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie. This is half of the holy life.

The Buddha replied: Don’t say that, Ananda. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie–This is the whole of the holy life.

Dear Admirable Friends,

During this past year we have come to know first-hand the value of spiritual friendship. Our sangha has been met by forces that have challenged us in many ways. A pandemic has physically separated us. We have shared loss and grief. Our spiritual leadership is shifting.

But our community has held together and remained strong, with a shared value of the Dharma and practicing together. We have supported and drawn strength from each other. The intimacy of shared experiences has deepened our relationships. Our online presence has allowed our community to expand to include those who are physically distant but who share our love for the dharma and for this community. Our spiritual friendships have sustained us in both our personal and spiritual lives. We have taken refuge in sangha.  

We’re coming to you now to ask for your help in supporting this community that supports us. The reality is that maintaining our physical and virtual sangha relies on your financial support to meet the ongoing expenses that make our shared practice possible. Some of these expenses include:

  • New technology that allows us to hold virtual and hybrid practice groups, creating a community of hearts despite physical separation
  • A scholarship fund that makes it possible for anyone to attend sesshin, regardless of ability to pay
  • Rent for our physical space, which anchors us and is allowing our gradual return to in-person practice

In order to meet these and other ongoing expenses, we need to raise $5,000 above and beyond memberships, which is why we’re coming to you in this Annual Appeal. Your donation, in whatever amount is right for you, can help us meet the financial costs associated with maintaining this community that is so vital to each of us.

Just as we owe our practice to a lineage of spiritual ancestors who enacted a devotion to the dharma and spiritual friendship, our lives are also transformed by sangha mates, friends and loved ones who play an essential role in our practice of personal transformation. 

In order to celebrate these admirable friendships, we’re inviting you to honor a spiritual friend with your donation. This can be anyone who has touched you or sustained you. It could be someone from within our sangha or without, currently living or no longer with us.

Grasses and trees, fences and walls demonstrate and exalt this wondrous Dharma for the sake of living beings, both ordinary and sage; in turn, living beings, both ordinary and sage, express and unfold it for the sake of grasses and trees, fences and walls.

We have created a Wall of Gratitude on our website where you may honor a spiritual friend who has touched you in some special way.   With your donation, you are invited, if you would like, to recognize your spiritual friend with a brief tribute that will be placed on this special webpage.   Feel free to make multiple donations and honor multiple spiritual friends!

You can make your online donation here or find other ways to give here.  However you choose to give, please include a designation in the memo box that your donation is for the Annual Appeal.

We welcome your donation, with or without recognizing a spiritual friend.  If you would like to honor a friend on our Wall of Gratitude, simply email [email protected] with:

  • The name of your honoree
  • A brief tribute (this is optional)
  • Your name, a designation as Anonymous, or you may leave it unsigned

Our Wall of Gratitude will remain up throughout the holidays.  It’s a lovely way for someone outside of the community to give a gift to someone inside the community–or vice versa.  Either way, your financial support is a tangible expression of gratitude for the intangible gift of spiritual friendship.  

With enormous gratitude for our spiritual friendship with each of you,

The Development Working Group
Rebecca Doverspike, Cheryl Morrow, and Fran Ludwig