Temporary Closure in Response to Covid-19 (updated 4/1/20)
The three resident sanghas at the Sacramento Dharma Center—Valley Streams Zen Sangha, Sacramento Insight Meditation, and Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group–have suspended all live, in-person activities at the Center through the end of April or longer.
Accordingly, the Board of Directors of Sacramento Dharma Center announces that, effective immediately, the Center is closed for any in-person meetings until at least April 30, 2020. Because of the changing nature of the crisis the SDC Board (in collaboration with the resident sanghas) will review the closure status on an ongoing basis.
Please visit sangha and Center websites for the most up-to-date information as well as ways to continue to access the dharma and support practice.
We in the Sacramento dharma community, as well as the larger community and world, are in the midst of almost unprecedented challenges. As dharma practitioners, we are facing these challenges within the framework of the dharma that informs both our personal and our collective responses.
The SDC Board asked the sustaining sanghas to decide, based upon their particular situations, how to best contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public while continuing to foster community and provide a sanctuary for those who seek to end suffering.
Our decisions focused on two areas:
—Activities at SDC, almost all of which are live, in-person meetings, and
—The ability to keep the Center as a safe space in terms of the potential spread of COVID-19.
Actions of the Sanghas to Suspend Live
In person Activities
Advice from the local, state, and national levels has evolved and changed rapidly over the past few days. The sanghas made their decisions in the midst of the uncertainties that still face us, and them. All three sanghas decided independently to suspend their sittings and dharma talks, one-day retreats, and other activities, including classes. These decisions were made in order to assure the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus, social distancing.
Continuing to Provide Opportunities
for Dharma and Sangha
The sanghas will be providing a variety of means to support practice during the absence of activities at the Center. In addition to email communications, e-newsletters, and Facebook, sangha websites will have the latest information and instructions for alternative ways to access dharma talks, classes, and other sangha programs.
Sacramento Buddhist Meditation Group, sbmg.org; Sacramento Insight Meditation, sactoinsight.org, and Valley Streams Zen Sangha, valleystreamszen.org, will all provide some electronic access to many activities that will no longer meet in person. Access may be via Zoom, a video conferencing technology; via live-streamed talks; and/or via recorded talks or videoconferences.
In addition to the resources provided by our sanghas, there are a wide variety of online resources available, such as dharmaseed.org, and courses and livestreaming provided by meditation centers and teachers worldwide. Each sangha website, and the SDC website, will list a small fraction of those resources, with links.
Maintaining the Center as a Safe Space
According to experts in communicable disease, social distancing—avoiding contact with others—is the most effective means of preventing or slowing the transmission of disease. After that comes exercising extreme vigilance about disinfecting all surfaces that could harbor viruses.
There will be some necessary traffic at the Center for maintenance and administration even during the closure. When an individual must enter the building, that individual is asked to observe the instructions for disinfection of all surfaces touched, including but not limited to: door handles, light switches, faucets, counters, tools, utensils, alarm pads, and any other shared surfaces such as chairs, tables, benches, bells, window coverings in offices, restrooms and meeting rooms. The easiest way to avoid having to disinfect is to touch as little as possible.
Approved disinfectants will be found in a box on a table in the break room. Please use only these materials for this purpose. Discard used paper towels and take any rags or cloths home and launder in hot water with detergent. If there is any doubt about the efficacy of a method, or a concern, please contact us, [email protected].
Continued support of your sangha and the Dharma Center is greatly appreciated during these difficult times. Although the doors are closed, fixed monthly operating costs are still accruing.
As we continue to face the challenges in front of us, may we all find refuge in our tradition, in the wisdom of the Buddha, the teachings and practices of the dharma, and the strength and support of sangha. May all beings be free from suffering.
Warm Regards from the Dharma Center Board of Directors