2021 Annual Report

Dear CBMG Sangha and Friends,

After another challenging year, we are grateful to have been able to continue Chicago Buddhist Meditation Group (CBMG)’s activities throughout the year of 2021. Below we share a report of those activities with you, and we would like to take this opportunity to also express our gratitude to all those who have contributed in various ways.

In June, with the number of COVID cases declining and more people fully vaccinated, we were hopeful that we could return to in-person sitting soon. We held a Sangha Meeting, and emailed those who couldn’t attend, to get the Sangha’s feedback on their comfort levels for returning to in-person, various COVID safety protocols once we were to return to in-person, as well as camera equipment preference to enable a hybrid set-up so that those who have been joining us from afar or who don’t feel comfortable joining us in-person for whatever reason could still attend CBMG via Zoom every week. However, soon after that Sangha Meeting, the Delta variant began to cause COVID case load to rise again. In August, the City of Chicago began to mandate mask-wearing indoors, and in September, the same mandate was enacted for the entire state of Illinois. For the safety of our members and the community at-large, we decided to continue to meet online only. We are monitoring the pandemic situation and government announcements, and hope that we can return to in-person/hybrid at our beautiful rental space at Kiku Matsu Aikido Dojo sometime in 2022.

Throughout this year, we continued to have members joining our weekly practice from other states as well as from the Chicago area. We have met many new people – both beginners and long-time practitioners alike – and, as always, enjoyed the company of all the regular attendees as well.

Many of us have, by now, known someone who has gotten COVID. In some cases, perhaps even someone who has died from the disease or has suffered severe symptoms. At the same time, the world experiences increasing misinformation, health care and vaccine inequity, racial divides, wars and unrests, climate crisis, natural disasters, and more. 2021 has continued to be a trying year for many. We hope that our Sangha and our weekly practice space provide helpful support to those who need it, while we meditate and study Dharma together to further cultivate our compassion and wisdom, and develop skillful means so we may bring benefit to others as well.

We are grateful to everyone who has attended our weekly practice, and those who have supported us in other ways, so that we may continue to offer this space for all who find it helpful.

Our Dharma Study and Volunteers:

As a Sangha that is, by design, not tied to any specific lineage, we have been able to study authentic Buddhist teachings from diverse traditions, hearing lectures from many teachers in Chan/Zen, Tibetan, and Theravada traditions. We also encourage diverse voices from within our Sangha, and are thankful to the following members who volunteered to present Dharma Sharing, facilitate Teachers’ Corner, and/or tell Dharma Stories from sutras and other sources this past year: Alan, Belinda, Dave, Dorothy, Joy, Kimberly, Margaret, Phyllis, and Stephen!

With these volunteers’ help, in 2021, we studied and investigated a wide range of Dharma topics, including:

Key Buddhist concepts and practices:

  • Right View
  • Right Effort
  • Wise Livelihood
  • The practice of bowing
  • The practice of chanting
  • The role of sutras
  • Buddha’s birthday & its celebrations
  • The Five Remembrances
  • The Four All-Embracing Bodhisattva Virtues
  • Fukan Zazengi – universal recommendation for zazen
  • Beginners’ Mind
  • Loving-kindness
  • Goodwill
  • “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form”
  • Practicing with hindrances

Lessons for cultivating a resilient and caring mind:

  • Forgiveness
  • Embracing uncertainty
  • How to deal with sickness
  • Being aware of hypocrisy
  • Edges & boundlessness
  • Giving it all you’ve got
  • Praise & blame
  • The power of friendship
  • Love

Personal sharing by members:

  • Reflections from a 90-day retreat
  • Encountering grief

Special Programs

This year, we held a few special programs:

  • Watching two Buddhist-themed documentaries (“Saving Mes Aynak” and “The Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World”) followed by discussions.
  • Holding two Sangha meetings – one in January and another in June.
  • Having the honor of a special guest teacher, David Listen, joiningus live in May. David led meditation that day and gave a Dharma Talk on: “The Core Principles of Buddhadharma: How They Guide Our Life Practice.” About 30 people attended this special event.

Our Financials

As of December 31, 2021, we have total cash assets of $2,620.40. Our total 2021 annual income is around $2,100. Our total 2021 annual expenditure is around $2,600, which includes: the purchase of a camera ($330) that we will use to enable simultaneous online participation once we return to in-person/hybrid meetings, rent, Meetup subscription, insurance, governmental filing fees, Dana (giving/generosity) for the visiting special teacher, and various supplies.

In 2022, we expect some increases to our regular annual expenditure due to inflation, fee or premium increases. We also likely have additional equipment to purchase for the hybrid setup, such as a tripod and maybe cables, a microphone, etc. as well. And we may incur additional special program expenses should we manage to invite guest teachers again.

CBMG, a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit, is sustained financially by donations alone. Thank you to all of our donors who have contributed!

If your situation allows, we invite you to support us by making a one-time or recurring donation on our website or our Facebook page; or email us to find out how to donate with a check. CBMG is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity – all donations are deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

In addition, we are registered on Amazon Smile! If you make purchases there, please consider selecting Chicago Buddhist Meditation Group as your charity of choice on Amazon Smile, and a portion of your purchase price will be donated to CBMG.

Looking Forward

In 2022, in addition to our regular programs, we will also look for opportunities to invite guest teachers again and plan other special programs as resources allow.

As always, our vow and hope is to continue offering this space for Dharma learning and practice for as long as members need it, enough volunteers to help out, and adequate finances to sustain it. As causes and conditions change, we will strive to adapt. We aspire for this Sangha and for us all to act as a Bodhisattva would – responding to needs in skillful ways, supporting each other with kindness, and doing so without ego or clinging to any fixed form.

Thank you for being a part of CBMG and a part of each other’s life on this journey.

Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.

~ The Metta Sutta

With bows and gratitude,

CBMG Board Members:
Belinda Li
Phyllis Lee
Stephen Hoover

Website: www.chicagomeditation.org

Email: hello@chicagomeditation.org

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoBuddhistMeditationGroup

Meetup Group: https://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Buddhist-Meditation-Group