It has been a while since I wrote a President’s message, but given the current serious situation, I decided that this is the right time for one.
I hope you are all staying safe and staying connected with family and friends as best as you can. I am sure that like me, you are all watching the ever-changing development of this public health crisis. Three months ago we were merely observers as China grappled with COVID-19 outbreak. How things have changed since then; just six weeks ago it was their virus and now it has become our virus. Ironically it has become the equalizer and the common ground in our communities, country, and also globally.
I am sure we will all have stories to share when this is over. Sadly, a Steveston Temple member, who was on the Diamond Princess Cruise ship, recently passed away in Japan. As for me, after attending the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver with 20 of my staff, my wife and I are in isolation while waiting for our test results. I appreciate all the emails and expressions of concern for us. But I want to reassure you that we only have mild, cold-like symptoms, and are not too worried. We are keeping busy working from home and walking our dog for breaks, much like the rest of you. I feel grateful for Buddha’s teachings, which reminds me to accept the current realities with graciousness while feeling grateful for our family and friends, our Sangha, and the greater community.
Our Temple board had decided to temporarily suspend all of our in-person services and activities, but we are looking for ways to stay connected online. Robert Sensei is currently working to set up an online platform for services so we will let you know when he is ready to go. We will also explore other Sangha engagement opportunities so please stay tuned by checking your email, our website, and Facebook.
In this time of self-isolation and social distancing, my hope is that we can all stay connected and support one another as a Sangha. The world of technology is a wonderful thing, and as all the temples are gearing up for online services, we also have a unique opportunity to connect to other temple services around the world, thereby forming a link in Amida Buddha’s golden chain that stretches around the world.
Please stay safe and healthy, and hopefully soon this will become a distance memory.