Winter Storms Challenge Texas Zen Centers|Sangha News

by Tova Green

In a winter season when lots of areas of the United States have actually experienced freezing temperature levels and strong storms, recently’s severe cold, snow, and freezing rain in Texas was unmatched and unforeseen.

On Tuesday of this week, I discovered that Reirin Gumbel, Milwaukee Zen Center’s assisting instructor, published her issues about sanghas in Texas on the Soto Zen Buddhist Associations members’ online forum. She composed, “How are you doing in this weather? Are your centers safe? Thinking about all Texans and others in the South. We have a seemingly unending snowstorm here; but Milwaukee is ready for it.”

This triggered me to connect to Austin, Houston, and San Antonio Zen Centers, all members of Branching Streams, a group of sanghas in the Suzuki Roshi family tree.

The assisting instructors of the 3 Texas Zen Centers reacted within hours. Here is what they stated onTuesday I had the ability to follow up with Mako and Choro in Austin and Colin in San Antonio today.

Front of Austin Zen Center

Mako Voelkel, assisting instructor of Austin Zen Center responded, “Texans are truly not gotten ready for such low temperature levels, and freezing pipelines appears to be a substantial concern. Natural gas still works, fortunately, however we simply got a current caution declaration from Texas Gas Services stating gas wells are beginning to freeze due to the continual cold!

“While Austin Zen Center (with five residents) has not lost power — likely due to its location a few blocks from a major hospital — our Tanto (head of practice) and a few board members have not had power since 5:45pm last night. With no clear end in sight of either above-freezing weather or repairs to the energy grid, this may go on for some time. Driving anywhere right now seems out of the question, with snow on top of a sheet of ice, cars left stranded, and zero preparedness for such conditions! I myself am safe and thankful for having power (as well as Tassajara training in hot water bottles, headlamps, and bundling up).”

I called Mako and Austin Zen Center’s Tanto, Choro Antonnacio, Thursday early morning. Due to the fact that a water treatment plant was jeopardized,Mako city occupants are on a boiled water alert. She stated that she has actually gathered tidy water in containers. She kept in mind that it was snowing gently today, as we were speaking. Austin has actually never ever remained in temperature levels as low as the minus 8 degrees she experienced in Tassajara today, even atShe “Once things start to thaw out we’ll see how many pipes are broken. There’s been an emergency request for out-of-state plumbers to come in.”

Choro stated, “The city is a disaster. Although things are slowly improving, there are still a lot of people without power. What has changed since Tuesday is that the water system is in a state of collapse.” stated,

Choro She had actually gotten her power back however had no water. Choro was melting snow to utilize to clean meals and flush the toilet. She explained the roadways as a sheet of ice, without any devices for looking after snow and ice on the roadways. She has actually been primarily inside for 5 days. “A lot of us are very fortunate. I don’t know how we’ll get back to normal with the infrastructure.”

Gaelyn Godwin stated, Abbot, Houston Zen Center of Tuesday, discussed Thanks: “Houston for asking– the report in Mako is nearly similar to Austin’s inPerhaps A large range of interruptions and issues. The the most significant concern today is that the water pressure is so low– due to everybody leaving their taps leaking and the huge pumps freezing– that we might begin having backflow into the drinking lines. There city asked all of us to stop the leaking, however we currently had actually frozen pipelines here the very first day and we hesitate to duplicate that.

“We’ve brought a member and her two dogs into the temple for refuge from the cold. The lack of hot showers was a challenge, but we are very grateful for all we have.”

are no papers or mail, and restricted broadband, however we constantly have reports. Gaelyn I was not able to reach

Colin Gipson for an upgrade.San Antonio Zen Center, Tuesday’s assisting instructor, composed on “Thank you very much for asking, and for your concern. We received around 3 1/2 inches of snow here at SAZC and so far have been very lucky in that we haven’t lost power or heat at the Zen Center. We are supposed to receive freezing rain tonight, but it begins warming tomorrow and the overall situation will improve rapidly over the next few days.”:

Thursday Colin early morning “Tuesday seems so long ago. It’s snowing now, and will be warming starting tomorrow. We’re at the tail end of it. Many sangha members were affected by power loss. This part of Texas is not set up for this cold weather. There were burst pipes, causing low water pressure. There was an order to boil drinking water. A few days ago some highways were shut down.” stated, He Sangha has actually been remaining off the roadways.

Colin members are still signing up with online when they can. San Antonio Zen Center has actually been dealing with insulating He’s structure. Tassajara stated maturing on a cattle ranch and being the Texas plant supervisor assisted him get ready for the existing storms inHis “May everyone have power, heat, and clean drinking water in these very difficult times.”

Update desire is,
From Konjin Gaelyn Godwin 2/19/21Abbot, Houston Zen Center

The Houston Zen Center of It sangha members were impacted by a vast array of conditions throughout the ice storm.

‘s in fact still going on, and lots of members are sticking with pals, or in their workplaces, or hunched down at house with just one or 2 of the routine city energies operating. I feel that what we are experiencing is a taste of things to come: we will all acknowledge how valuable water is, and how required it will be to share and save.However HZC never ever lost electrical energy, or gas, so we were dry and warm, even when it was 14 degrees for 2 days. Texas, the ice storm essentially knocked out the Houston electrical grid, which resulted in the collapse of lots of local water supply which count on pumps. It, population 6 million, has actually lacked running water for numerous days. The’s truly incredible. Houston roots of the issue remain in

We politics, so that will produce intriguing reading in the coming weeks.Center still do not have adequate water at theMany Some members do not have either heat or web. The members have fireplaces for heat, which’s it. We other 3 locals and I gotten in touch with all our members today to make certain they were doing fine. We likewise provided sanctuary in the temple to members who did not have all services.

Here connected to people who reside on their own initially, then talked to roomies and households.Center at the We we have water for drinking, due to the fact that we keep 5-gallon containers on hand. We utilize the drip from the taps for meals, however all water from the taps should be boiled because it is now infected. The City conserved rainwater for flushing the toilets. The has actually asked that we restrict our electrical usage so that others can begin line.

With sharing feels extremely suitable, and a taste of what is to come in our future, when we will all truly understand how valuable water is, and how limited our resources truly are.

Side palms together,Austin Zen Center backyard icicles (


Fountain Austin Zen Center in snow (


Icicles Austin Zen Center during the night (

[Photo credit: Mako Voelkel]