This summer was relatively quiet, with a small but steady stream of visitors during the months of July and September; the temple was closed during most of August as usual. Both Reverends Phoebe and Seikai were able to go on an outing or retreat of some kind. Rev. Seikai joined a Sierra Club backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada the last week of July; it was a five day trip in Sequoia National Park which circumambulated Alta Peak, an imposing mountain in the north part of the park. Rev. Phoebe traveled to Colorado during August to a Buddhist retreat center which has just started up in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains near Boulder. She was able to camp out on a stream which runs through the property, and join in hiking trips and meditation periods during the day. She thoroughly enjoyed not being in charge of anything apart from sweeping out the dining area every day.
June and July were unusually hot this summer. Whether this is an aspect of global warming or not is difficult to say; meanwhile, we’ve had many more thunderstorms than usual as well. It has been good to have the extra rain, especially during the summer when it is so dry; fortunately there hasn’t been anything like the deluge of July 30, 2015. We have lost a few more pine trees due to the long term effects of drought, and continued to plant trees every spring to replace them. Rev. Seikai planted three desert willow trees in the Buddha House garden where they had been pines, and within two months they had grown up to three feet in height and were flowering profusely.
On July 9 we held a memorial for Patrick DuBray and his father Dick , a ceremony we have held almost every year since moving to Pine Mountain. Marcia Roberts and Juliet Betita continue to faithfully remember their old friend and make an annual pilgrimage to the temple to honor their memory.
In August Rev. Seikai made a trip north to Shasta Abbey to participate in a week-long retreat held in the monastery. He was one of six monks doing the teaching for the retreat, five of which were guests from other temples. There were about 30 people attending the retreat. Rev. Seikai gave a Dharma talk (see article, p. 7), as well as spiritual counseling and answering questions together with Rev. Master Mugo. He continued on into Oregon to visit his family in Eugene. His parents are now 90 and 87 years old—and in pretty good health.
In September we have had several guests who have been to the temple previously for a weekend or a retreat. It’s nice to see this, to get to know people better, and see people grow in their practice, many of whom are new to Buddhism or are attempting to incorporate some kind of spiritual practice into their daily lives. That the temple can continue to be a refuge for such people fulfills its purpose as a place to immerse oneself in an atmosphere of quiet and meditation, and learn to look inwards. As this newsletter is being printed we will be holding a three-day meditation retreat from the 22nd to 24th and are expecting several participants for it.
Rev. Seikai has been working on a footpath into the temple’s West Canyon, which extends back into the wilderness. The canyon is about a half mile deep, and the trail goes up to the point where it becomes very steep. We intend to use the trail and the canyon as a place for walking meditation during meditation retreats in the future.