Cheri said recently that the evolution of Living Compassion “is moving at the speed of light.” It’s true. As a formal organization, Living Compassion came together only in January 2005. We saw then that it would be helpful to bring under one structure the variety of projects that were operating in many different arenas. So much was happening!
The small Zen Sangha that Cheri founded in Mountain View in 1983 grew and flourished until it burst its seams and the community required a larger, quieter place for retreat. In 1987 Cheri and a few committed souls began building the Monastery on 320 acres in the Sierra foothills. The Monastery has continued to expand, all hand-built by monks and retreatants. Resident monks train there, and provide opportunities for intensive practice periods to others. People from around the world have attended workshops and retreats offered through this practice.
On November 22, 2002, our communication became worldwide as Open Air Talk Radio with Cheri Huber began broadcasting on the web every Tuesday evening.
An invitation from a friend took us to Zimbabwe where we began a partnership with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to provide school uniforms, meals, and tuition for students at several schools. On a visit to Assisi, Italy, Cheri met Brother John Kapenda, a Zambian Franciscan friar who told her of his dream of providing a home for some of the multitude of children left destitute by AIDS and poverty in his country. We have partnered with John’s family to create that home and to support the school the children attend, to provide food for many others, and to create jobs and income through a sewing cooperative.
Also while in Assisi, Cheri experienced a powerful vision: an international center for peace, which would present, to the upwards of four million people who visit Assisi every year, stories, practices, and teachings of peace from all times, places and traditions. As we lay the groundwork for realizing that dream, we have come to see that our practice is a peace practice, and the Monastery is already a peace center. So as we move toward an international peace center in Assisi, we are also moving forward with plans to present peace displays, practices and teachings at the Zen Monastery Peace Center.
So much is happening! We are being called to such exciting ventures. And so we formed the structure of Living Compassion to bring all our projects under one roof, and to focus our energy and resources. Our commitment is huge: it is not just to end OUR suffering, but to end suffering. Opportunities abound. We invite anyone who is interested to participate in this adventure.