2022 Annual Report
Dear CBMG Sangha and Friends,
After two years of meeting online-only due to the pandemic, we were excited to resume in-person sitting in March 2022. Returning to the beautiful venue at Kiku Matsu Dojo – which we began renting in January 2020 before we had to abruptly transition to online offering just two months later – we are able to again practice in-person, enjoying the energy that comes with being physically present with each other. At the same time, after extensive testing of an audio-visual set-up, we are also able to offer a truly hybrid model, allowing members to join live via Zoom if they wish. This set-up entails a wide-angle GoPro camera to help those on Zoom see the whole physical hall and thus feel more included; two or more laptops/iPads to show timekeeping guidance and group discussions; and a cell phone to serve as the microphone & speaker. This online option allows members who live afar, as well as those uncomfortable with meeting in-person due to health concerns or who do not meet our vaccination requirement, to practice with the in-person group at the same time.
In 2022, we continued to offer Dharma learning opportunities that drew from our diverse membership’s research and experiences, as well as from teachers from various Buddhist traditions. In addition, over two sessions, we invited a guest speaker, Mr. Tod Nielsen, to share Dharma teachings with us via multi-cultural Buddhist Arts created by artists in many countries over many centuries. We also continued to promote interesting events offered by other Sanghas, and participated in a donation drive organized by Sit Around Chicago and other Chicago-area Sanghas to support Venezuelan refugees living in Chicago.
Below we share a more detailed report of our regular and special activities in 2022. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who have contributed in various ways – whether by volunteering to facilitate a Dharma discussion session, by donating to CBMG, by helping us to welcome new members, or by simply showing up to sit with us. With your support, we hope to continue offering our Sangha and our weekly practice space to serve those who need it.
Our Dharma Study and Volunteers:
Continuing with our non-denominational approach, we have been able to study authentic Buddhist teachings from diverse traditions, hearing lectures from many teachers in Zen/Seon, 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, Jackson, Margaret, Phyllis, Renata, Stephen, and Trina!
With these volunteers’ help, in 2022, we studied and investigated a wide range of Dharma topics, including:
Key Buddhist concepts and practices:
- The First Precept
- Purifying the Mind through the Five Precepts
- The Four Foundations of Mindfulness with guided Insight Meditation
- Mindfulness of Breathing Sutra
- An Overview of the Heart Sutra
- Speaking of Gong’an (Koan)
- The Four Great Vows
- Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
- Bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha
- The Basics: From Sitting Postures to Mindful Eating
- How Zazen is Not About Progress
- Effortlessness in Meditation
- The Buddha’s Mudras
- The Meaning of Sangha
- The Role of Bikkhunis
Timeless lessons for cultivating a resilient & grateful mind:
- Our Wandering Minds
- How to Live Free from Suffering
- Turning Adversity into the Path of Awakening
- How to Get “Unstuck”
- Facing Difficult Situations in Life
- Gratitude as a Dharma Gate
- A Buddhist Approach to Handling Difficult Thoughts and Emotions
- And many Dharma stories that touched on topics such as: courage, wisdom, infatuation, friendship, and more
In 2022, we held a few special programs:
- A special New Year Loving-Kindness (Metta) Mini-Retreat held on January 2nd
- A Sangha meeting held in January
- Watched a movie in May called “Xuan Zang” – a dramatic recounting of the life story of a historical Chinese monk, Master Xuan Zang (602-664 AD), known as one of the four greatest sutra translators of China.
- Having the honor of a special guest teacher, Mr. Tod Nielsen, joining us live in July and October. Tod shared with us: “Buddhist Arts Presentations: The Eight Great Events in the Life of the Buddha” which covered a range of cultures, styles, and mediums of Buddhist arts, while using art as a gateway for conveying important Dharma teachings.
- Promoted and participated in a donation drive organized by Sit Around Chicago and other Chicago-area Sanghas to support Venezuelan refugees living in Chicago in November
As of December 31, 2022, we have total cash assets of $2,918.54. Our total 2022 annual income is around $2,700, and our total 2022 annual expenditure is around $2,400, which includes: rent, Meetup subscription, insurance, governmental filing fees, Dana (giving/generosity) for the visiting special teacher, and various supplies.
In 2023, we expect some increases to our regular annual expenditure due to inflation, fee or premium increases. We will also incur additional Zoom premiums as we transition to a dedicated CBMG Zoom account, as well as potentially additional equipment and supplies purchases and special program expenses.
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.
Many Ways to Donate:
In 2023, in addition to our regular programs, we also hope to hold special programs, including potentially a Japanese Tea Ceremony demonstration by one of our own members! We will also seek opportunities to partner with other Sanghas.
As we look towards a new year, we treasure the continued friendship and support from what’s now our “old-timers,” and look forward to building new friendships with those who have just found our group. As ordinary beings who are not (yet) able to see clearly all the causes, conditions, and effects – we can, nonetheless, strive to plant seeds of compassion and wisdom both on and off the cushions, while supporting each other along this wondrous Dharma path together.
Thank you for being a part of CBMG and a part of each other’s life on this journey.
With bows and gratitude,
CBMG Board Members:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoBuddhistMeditationGroup
Meetup Group: https://www.meetup.com/Chicago-Buddhist-Meditation-Group