January 2018
Winter 2018 News
In this Issue

Volunteer Profile ~ Terry Wener
Holiday Stocking Drive
Rain Proofing
Shigi ~ The Beatnik Cat
Library Treasures

Best Wishes to all in the New Year
Volunteer Profile
Terry Wenner, tree trimmer and Dharma Center grounds volunteer extraordinaire, literally rises above what is expected. Heights, ladders, lifts, (and even health setbacks) do not faze him. He feels quite at home in the treetops, trimming branches and lovingly tending the many trees on our almost two-acre property.

Chances are you have seen him or his old blue truck with its wood chipper trailer. Terry’s volunteering roots go back to 1993, when he signed up to open up SBMG’s meeting space. As he explained it, “You did it one week, and asked someone to do it the next week. I was maybe shy about asking someone else, and I just kept doing it, and expanded the role of opening to setting things up, trying to create a space conducive to our practice.”

He’s a longtime supporter of the Dharma Center. “The notion of us working together with one center of our own” appealed to him for many years. He says, “SDC just seems the inevitable unfolding of Dharma practice in Sacramento.”

In early October he suffered a stroke, and spent a few weeks in rehabilitation. But, perhaps to no one’s surprise, by end of the month he was already back pushing a mower on the SDC workday.

His body may be slowed down a bit, with his right side still in the process of recovery, but he is as active as before. Sunday, December 17 th , he organized an unscheduled “vigilante” leaf cleanup and yardwork day and joined in the sweeping, raking, and mowing with all the rest. But soon out came a ladder and he was up high again, on the roof scooping out clogged rain gutters.

Volunteering to Terry “doesn’t even feel like volunteering. It just feels like something that is of benefit to all of us, and a benefit to generations after we are gone.” He added, “I just happen to like doing all this outdoor-related stuff. I can’t help my imagination getting rolling for all of what we could do. I can’t help myself, it comes up naturally.”

He sees his volunteering in the context of his stroke, with his left side helping out his injured right side— “My left hand doesn’t volunteer to help my right hand; it just naturally happens.” And he invites any “left hands” out there to “come forward to accept their rightful places as active parts of the sangha.”
Did you know that The Dharma Center has no paid employees, but depends entirely on volunteers to clean, maintain, and staff the Center? Come to every last Sunday morning of the month for work day to help out. And for more information on volunteering, contact Jerry Simkins, SDC Volunteer Coordinator, at volunteer@sacdharma.org or call 916 801-3278.

Warm Holiday Dana
The holiday stocking drive, an all-Dharma Center effort, was a big success with over 30 gift-stuffed stockings delivered to Volunteers of America (VOA) on December 22 nd by organizers Helen Hobart and Kent Lacin.

Generous people from Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, Sacramento Insight Meditation, and Valley Streams Zen Sangha donated socks, hats, gloves, toiletries, protein bars, flashlights, toys, and much more.

There was such an overflow of items in the bins in our lobby that extra bags were needed to hold what the stockings could not. The donations will go to men and women in a new winter shelter run by VOA and backed by the city of Sacramento, or to families and children, or to those in VOA outreach programs.

A big thank you to all who participated!
Rain Proofing
The Center is ready for the winter. Now that the rain has returned, we should not have to bring out buckets to catch leaks dripping from the storage room roof in the Meditation Hall like we did last year.

In October, the flat roof along the entire north side of the building was thoroughly cleaned and resealed, extending its useful life by an estimated three or four years. Plus, the roofers guarantee their work for two years, and will fix any leaks for free during that time.

To add to the protection, in December Chris McCarthy of SBMG and his crew donated their services and painted the interior side of the stucco walls that surround the flat roof. The elastomeric coating they applied should prevent rain from sneaking down the edge of the roof and into the building. The Dharma Center greatly appreciates Chris’s generosity—thank you.
Join the Sustaining Circle today and support our mission to provide a home for meditation and Buddha’s teachings, welcoming everyone who seeks to end suffering and live in harmony.
Shigi ~ The Zen Beatnik Cat
Shigiyoshi (or “Shigi” for short) takes his name from Beat Generation celebrity Shigeyoshi “Shig” Murao, the laid back longtime manager of City Lights Books in San Francisco. (Shig Murao is also known for his arrest and trial on obscenity charges for selling a copy of Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl to an undercover San Francisco police officer in 1957.)

Shigi’s fur is a pattern of white and black, relative and absolute. He’s a cat that could double as a pen and ink painting or a watercolor, according to Millard Votteri of Valley Streams Zen Sangha, with whom Shigi lives.

While Shigi has not been arrested yet or put on trial, he takes after his namesake in his relaxed and accepting manner. He is the very model of deep practice for Millard: “Before dawn every day, at the rising sun he sits in zazen at the closed studio door leading into the kitchen. He sits there like a novice mendicant waiting for the monastery door to open to seek acceptance as a monk.” Shigi “spends most of the day in zazen when he’s not taking a break stretched lying upside down.” Sometimes he sits Soto Zen style, facing the wall, “his nose only inches away in deep concentration.” Millard says, “I try to live up to his standard.”

The most important lesson that Shigi expounds is to live completely in each moment. “This means,” says Millard, “unlike almost everyone I know, including myself, that he meets you just as you are in this very timeless instant. There is no stale carryover from the past, no history whereby judgement occurs.”
Check It Out ~ Library Treasures and Curiosities
You never know what will show up among donations to the Library. Most surprising was a well-worn copy of Mao’s Little Red Book, of which over a billion copies were said to have been printed.

Another interesting donated volume that found its way to us is Peace Pilgrim; Her Life and Works in Her Own Words. According to her website, “From 1953 to 1981, a silver haired woman calling herself only ‘Peace Pilgrim’ walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. Wearing a blue tunic and carrying just a comb and toothbrush, she shared her simple but profound message in thousands of communities throughout the U.S.: when enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war.” Our correspondent reports that in 1978, Peace Pilgrim spoke to his high school English class and left a lasting impression.

The Library has shelves dedicated to Insight Meditation, Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, general Buddhism, and Buddhist magazines. Except for some reference materials, everything is available to borrow—just fill out a line on the clipboard. The library is located in the former teller area of the west room, and is open whenever the building is open (unless there’s a meeting in that area). You are encouraged to take home any books that strike your fancy from the free book cart, usually parked in the south entry room.
Sacramento Dharma Center ~ 3111 Wissemann Drive, Sacramento CA, 95826
info@sacdharma.org | www.sacdharma.org