When I took my first ordination vows as a shy young Zen Buddhist with Soen Sa-Nim 43 years ago, I could never have imagined sitting side by side with my teacher/mentors empowering a succession of wonderful teachers at a beautiful meditation center I founded. I feel infinite gratitude for the ancestors who passed on the practices of wisdom, love and compassionate participation in this mysterious, intimate, universal life.
How did this happen? Through the blessing of countless generous ancestors who came before me, and the work of many hands here at InsightLA over the past 15 years. It happened because of your study and practice, your wanting a spiritual home in Los Angeles in the lineage of both early Buddhism and modern mindfulness. Evoking our ancestors as a source of wisdom and support is a well-known practice in Buddhist and indigenous cultures, often sadly missing in the West.
Lineage refers to a succession of generations—it’s our family tree! In the tradition of my ancestors, family is meant to be a sacralized center of spiritual life. In Buddhist tradition, the community becomes our family. The continuity of love and wisdom from teacher to student, from each to all, is alive for us at InsightLA. We are connected to a whole extended family of previous generations of practitioners, whoever they were and whenever they might have lived, all the way back to the Buddha.