The temple exists on the ancient Buddhist tradition of dana, or what we know as 'generosity of spirit', the giving and receiving from heart to heart. The practice of dana dates back 2,500 years to the time of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni. The Buddha in His wisdom purposely set up a practice of direct interchange and interdependence between the monastic and lay Sangha. He foresaw that reciprocal respect and kindness would develop between members of the Sangha in following the practice of dana, which in turn would assist each one of them in bringing their training to fruition. Whether we live the homeless life of monks or the life of a householder, generosity makes the heart grow brighter. Generosity is the first sign of Enlightenment and the practice of generosity opens one’s heart to the Dharma. Pine Mountain Temple has no source of income other than your kind donations, which are the traditional way to show appreciation for the Teaching of the Buddha.
It is traditional for members of the laity to make offerings to the monks of the basic requisites of life. This includes food offerings, donations in kind of clothing, medicine and shelter; to support our temple as a place of practice and retreat from the world we also need offerings of money to pay our bills and maintain our buildings. To make a donation for an overnight stay, a meditation group meeting or a ceremony or other event at the temple supports the entire Sangha, making it possible for us to continue our training and teaching.
Our friends at An Lac Mission in Ventura are organizing a Trip to India and Nepal, to visit the Buddhist Holy Sites as well as many places of historical interest to Buddhism. We think this is a great opportunity and Rev. Seikai is joining the group. If you would like to share in the blessings and participate by making a contribution, please send a check to our Travel Fund or use the donation button (Paypal) on our website. The all inclusive cost of the trip is $3300. We still need to raise about $2,000 to reach that figure.
The trip starts on October 29, 2013 at LAX with a flight to Delhi and will go to old City of Varanasi on the Ganges. Then they will visit Sarnath, Deer Park where the Buddha first turned the Wheel of the Dharma. On to Sravasti, Kosala, and the Jetavana Monastery. Next is Kapilavastu with the Lumbini Garden, where the Buddha was born. Then to Kushinagara, where the Buddha died, and Vaisali, where the second Buddhist Council was held, and the Mahapajapati Monastery. Then off to Rajgir and Nalanda, to sightsee the city, see the Venuvana Monastery with a bamboo Grove and the Gridhakuta Hill. The Saptaparni Cave was the place of the first Buddhist Council, and Nalanda houses the great monastic University. Four practice days will be spent at Bodhgaya, the place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, with visits to the Mahabodhi Temple, the Holy Bodhi Tree, the Vajrasana and the Sujata Village. There is an opportunity to support and solace poor villages. Then back, via Varanasi, to Delhi where there is an optional visit to the Taj Mahal and shopping opportunity. On November 13 the tour returns to LAX.
Temple Building Funds
Our ongoing building projects include: reinforcing the carport roof, a solar system for the Buddha House, improving infrastructure, general maintenance. Our building fund was emptied out recently. Any contributions to building and maintaining this temple will be gratefully accepted.
The Future: Continuing to Build Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple
The temple currently is restricted in the amount of livable square footage we are allowed by the Ventura County Meditation Retreat Ordinance. The ordinance sets a limit of 6,000 square feet total—4,000 of living space and 2,000 for food preparation and other utilitarian purposes. As of 2009, we used up the above totals; any future construction will have to be preceded by creating an ordinance to reflect our specific needs as a religious monastic community with guest accommodations, as the County currently does not have such a category. Also, as part of that process we would like to investigate the possibility of invoking the Federal Religious Land Use Act, instituted during the Clinton Administration.
There are two projects which we have discussed with our congregation and supporters: one is a purpose-built Meditation Hall or Temple Building; the second is a monks' residential building. The Meditation Hall would be a relatively large-scale project of 2,000 or more square feet, to create more space for ceremonial and seated meditation than our current meditation room of just over 600 square feet allows. The monks' residential building would be smaller in scale, perhaps 800 square feet. The costs of these projects would vary significantly in ratio to the scale of construction: possibly $500,000 for the Temple Building, and $200,000 for the residential building.
To gain approval from Ventura County to build either one or both of these buildings, as noted above, we would need the help of a lawyer familiar with land use, permitting and ordinance issues. If you or someone you know are in a position to help with this, please contact the Temple. Donations of services and time are of course tax deductible, as are donations to our ongoing BUILDING FUND. We invite you to help us build this temple, thereby increasing your blessings and wisdom. We dedicate the merit of our meditation and training to all living things.