aOn May 17th I will celebrate my 50th birthday. Having lived with HIV/AIDS for close to thirty years, at this point in my life, I don’t need lots more “things,” but I do want to ask for your support for the Village Zendo, a Zen Buddhist Temple that is so important for me and our community.
Over the last few years I’ve become disabled by the ravages from decades of HIV infection plus the very toxic effects of the treatment cocktail itself. No one knew that the reprieve from HIV could age some body parts (like some of mine) at double speed. That’s why I now have conditions that usually are only seen in geriatric patients. Is 50 the new 80? For many of us long-term HIV survivors, it might be.
I’m fortunate to have a great health care team with various insurances that mostly grant me access, but each day – many times each day – I need to recommit to making healthy choices, ethical choices, finding inner peace, building community, helping others and being engaged in social activism to help heal our planet. It is continuously waking-up and recognizing (again) the interdependence and the Impermanence of all things, For me, becoming a Zen Buddhist and working with remarkable teachers creates the calm and the framework that leads me closer to this path and my goal of “being in the zone”.
The Village Zendo is an amazing sanctuary offering meditation, workshops, and retreats for about 125 students. Co-founded twenty-five years ago by Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, PhD, a Zen Priest in the White Plum Lineage. HIV/AIDS has always been a key focus. Roshi Enkyo is a national spiritual leader, feminist and lesbian. Valuing diversity in race, class, gender, age, theology, nationality and health makes this a unique Buddhist spiritual home. For example, Vinny and I are one of many gay married couples.
In August, I hope to take the next step in my studies under Roshi Enkyo and the other great teachers by participating in an intensive “Jukai” or lay ordination retreat formalizing my ethical commitment to serve the community. But the cost is beyond what I can afford on disability income. But with your help, you could make this happen for me, as well as so many other Zen students who need help.
Your support matters much more to me than the amount of your check or on-line contribution by clicking here. Even $5 tells me that I’m not doing this alone. That is the best birthday present I could get. Please write a tax-deductible check to “Village Zendo” for $5, $25, $150 or whatever fits and click on-line or mail it in an envelope to:
Village Zendo, In Honor of Mark’s 50th, 588 Broadway, Suite 1108, New York, NY 10012-5238
Thank you for your love and support!
Mark de Solla Price