The first 20 years of Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple are nearing completion! 20 years ago Revs. Jisho and Phoebe were looking for a new location for the Santa Barbara Priory, and were told about this piece of property, which had been on the market for four years. In January of 2000, the move started, and went in stages as the three houses here were vacated by the previous residents, the Roberts family. Looking at photos of the temple grounds then, and comparing them with the way things look now, the appearance of things is vastly different. The old photos suggest a fairly windswept desert, while today this property is clearly an oasis with a well-cared-for look. The three residential buildings have all been upgraded with internal improvements and external stucco. We’ve planted hundreds of trees, and the already existing trees have become mature, shade-giving canopies. And the land itself has slowly rebounded from having been grazed by farm animals.
We don’t know if we’ll be here another 20 years—but the process of maintaining and upgrading never ceases. This year our big-as-life Jizo statue (front cover) arrived seemingly out of nowhere; we replaced one refrigerator and added a window air conditioner to the Sangha House; and now it’s time to repaint the interiors of the Buddha House and the Dharma House. In September, as this newsletter is being printed, a father-son team of painters will arrive to start work on that project. They will focus on our old “popcorn” ceilings, and repaint most but not all of the rooms. Although Rev. Phoebe loves painting and previously had painted the whole temple, the time has come to contract out the work. The monks are grateful that we have the financial support to make it possible to do this. And we extend our grateful thanks to everyone who has been a part of this temple for the past 20 years and made it possible for us to continue to be here and provide a refuge for meditation practice.
Summer was slow in arriving weather-wise; June was relatively cool. We held a meditation retreat focusing on world peace (see article, p. 12). The prolonged spring made for a lengthy wildflower season: the goldfields were very striking this year. In July things warmed up to almost “normal”, but we had fewer really hot days this summer than usual, as the temperature reached 100 only a handful of days. In August the two monks went on a fairly long road trip, camping and hiking in several locations, including Mammoth Lakes, California; driving up through Nevada into Oregon, stopping at Crater Lake and then getting deluged by a summer storm at Diamond Lake, Oregon. That meant leaving early and driving to Eugene, where Rev. Seikai’s family lives, earlier than planned. But it worked out. On their way home the monks stopped at Shasta Abbey for one overnight, and were warmly received by the monks there.
We learned of the death of a long-time friend and supporter of the temple, Richard Markley, who lived in Fresno. He is survived by his wife, Yasuko. Richard and Yasuko met and married while Richard was living in Japan in the early 1970’s. In the 1980’s they moved to Berkeley and first met Rev. Seikai when he was the prior of the Berkeley Buddhist Priory in Albany, CA. A memorial for Richard was held at Shasta Abbey on August 31, and his ashes were interred there. We held a memorial ceremony here at the temple on September 15.
Our two cats have adjusted to life at the temple, roaming around their new domain—the workshop, the Sangha House patio and yard, and the Dharma House garden. They have both been neutered. So far they have not shown much proficiency at rodent-getting, but time will tell.
The Empty Moon retreat at the end of September was canceled for lack of participation, so we rescheduled the weekend with our own Compassion Retreat. Rev. Phoebe will be in Morro Bay on October 23 to meet with the Central Coast Meditation Group. There are also still spaces for the Autumn Retreat, November 7—10. The Ventura Meditation Group has been rescheduled to Thursday, November 14.