“I believe that throughout history monastic groups such as the Zen Center have survived through difficult times to care for and maintain the best products of human nature.”
Jim and Pat Griffin are part of the diverse community that helps sustain Zen Center. Not only are they some of the original donors who helped kick off the Widening the Circle capital campaign, Jim also donates time in advising the Board of Directors on plans for improving the accessibility of Zen Center buildings.
I was delighted to be able to interview Jim to share with you hisÂ perspectiveÂ on why they value and support Zen Center.
How did you first come to Zen Center? Â What drew you?
Buddhism came to me fifty years ago in the form of a contract to build a Buddhist â€śChurchâ€ť for the American Buddhist Churches of America (ABC), a Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) form of Buddhism practiced by many early Japanese immigrants to California.
An interest in Buddhism developed and took me on a path that included two months studying with a Theravadan monk in Katmandu, assisting a Berkeley Tibetan Lama in the early stages of the construction of Odiyan, the Tibetan Temple in Mendocino County, and finally in the mid-seventies to Tassajara.Â At the San Francisco Zen Center I found a practice that seemed to be the best expression of Buddhist thought in America that I had been exposed to.
What impact has Zen Center and Zen practice had in your life?
The study of Buddhism has contributed to a transformative experience for me and along the way fundamental changes have come about in my life and my approach to family, personal and business relationships.
Why did you decide to become a donor to Zen Center?
We want to do what we can to support and help sustain the economic health and growth of the organization.
I believe that throughout history monastic groups such as the Zen Center have survived through difficult times to care for and maintain the best products of human nature.
Zen Center celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2012. Â With things today as they are, what kind of impact do you think Zen Center will have in its next 50 years?
I do believe that the only hope for the future is that a common understanding and practice of the teachings of Buddhism be integrated with oneâ€™s own historic persuasions.Â I think the work of the San Francisco Zen Center can help.
Jim and Pat are just two of the many people who make up the Zen Center community. What about you? What impact has Zen practice had on your life? Why (and how) do YOU support Zen Center? Tell us about it in the comments below.