April - June
April saw good attendance every weekend, for newcomers and regulars alike. Since we have a full schedule every Saturday and Sunday morning, even coming for one day is doing a retreat.
The three day Silent Retreat was one of two each year that are only open to people who have attended at least a couple of weekend retreats, and the depth of practice that results is quite wonderful to experience. We started on Thursday evening (April 22) with a relaxed dinner and introductions, so that we had three days of silence, only interrupted by our services and a Dharma talk each afternoon. Our next such retreat will be in November; if you are interested in joining, please contact Rev. Phoebe.
On Sunday the 24th a large group of people came to a Thai restaurant in Ventura to celebrate Rev. Seikai's 60th birthday, a very joyful event. We are grateful that Rev. Seikai has made Pine Mtn. Temple his home and hope he will continue in good health for many more years. Among many kind gifts, the temple is offering the printing of his book "Depth Spirituality: Buddhism in the Age of Desire" that has been on our website as an e-book for some time. Thanks to Steve, Thea and Beth who are helping with preparing the copy for printing, this project is well underway. The book will be for sale in our shop.
May was equally full: every weekend we had a group of people, some for the Saturday work days when we worked on fire prevention, weeding and mowing and taking out dead wood. For Sunday ceremonies there have often been several people present as well.
On May 15 Rev. Seikai, Chris, Paul and Dee visited the An Lac Mission, the Vietnamese temple in Ventura, to join their Celebration of Wesak, the Buddha’s Birthday. Rev. Seikai chanted The Scripture of Great Wisdom in English, at the request of Ven. Thich Thong Hai.
The next weekend, May 22, we had our own Wesak festival beginning on Saturday evening with a reading of the Life of the Buddha. Sunday continued with 28 guests, the oldest being 95 and the youngest 5. A group of Asian Buddhist practitioners from Bakersfield came with two white silk Bodhi trees and a couple of real orchids to add to the decorations in the hall. After the ceremony of pouring water over the Buddha’s head, Rev. Phoebe gave a beautiful Dharma Talk, we rang the temple bell 108 times, and we all went out to offer flowers at the Stupa. The day ended with a lovely potluck lunch.
During Memorial Day weekend we hosted a Buddhist group from Santa Barbara, who have been here before, with their own teacher, for a silent retreat. They are very appreciative of our temple and grounds and plan to come back next year.
On June 5th we held our annual board meeting, which is now also our annual members meeting. Notes are available on request for anyone who is interested. Quite a few members were present, and we intend to stay with the new format of holding one annual members meeting.
On June 12 Rev. Phoebe was invited to spend the weekend and teach at the home of Thea, in Los Angeles, who hosted a Zazenkai (half day retreat) for the local group she sits with. Rev. Phoebe offered a Dharma talk on the Six Paramitas and gave private spiritual guidance during the retreat. The retreat was attended by about 15 people and was well received.
Both the booklets that we give out freely to people, Rev. Master Daizui's A Perspective on the Eightfold Path of Buddhismand Rev. Master Seikai's The Nuts and Bolts of Day to Day Buddhist Training: The Six Paramitas, are just about out of print and we hope to have them reprinted in the next few weeks. If you would like to make a contribution towards that and have your Dana dedicated to a particular cause or person, please let the temple know. Traditionally, that dedication will be put in the new edition.