News December 30, 2016

 

With gratitude for Pam Johnson who maintained our previous website for years, we are now very happy to have set up a new website that we can maintain ourselves from the temple office.  It has an upcoming events page, a news blog and the calendar for the entire 2017, as well as some nice pictures.

Also new:  we have started to schedule one Sunday a month as Meditation Sunday, for those who enjoy a longer set of sitting periods.  Starting at 9:30am there are three half hour sitting periods alternated with fifteen minute walking meditation periods.  You may join at the beginning of any one of those, for a more detailed description see the weekend page on the website.

Revs. Phoebe and Seikai, Steve, Dee, Alberta and Day—all longtime temple members—made a short visit to Shasta Abbey in early November to take part in a memorial weekend marking the 20th anniversary of the death of our teacher, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. It was a pleasant occasion, an opportunity to become reacquainted with many people, both monks and laypeople. Saturday evening (Nov. 5) was a video presentation of some short films and other videos made of or including Rev. Master Jiyu. On Sunday morning was the memorial to honor her life and teaching. We returned on Monday, bringing with us many memories, and also many good books for our library; they were duplicates from the monastery library, which they have generously offered to other temples. Our thanks to Dee for offering her van and driving every mile of the journey—over 1100 miles.

This year’s Autumn Retreat was attended by eleven familiar faces from previous retreats. Our text for study this year was Reminders; Zen Training in Everyday Life, by Rev. Meiten McGuire. Rev. Meiten, who is 90, lives in Vancouver, BC, has retired from actively teaching, but the meditation group which formed around her has continued on. Meanwhile, Rev. Teigan Stevens, who led the autumn retreat for many years, has had various medical problems and is now living at the North Cascades Buddhist Priory in Washington. We will be offering a spring retreat in 2017 (April 20—23), which is a similar retreat but with more emphasis on silence and meditation.

Enlightenment Day was celebrated on December 11 this year. There was a group of about 14 people for the beautiful ceremony, the offertory of which was sung movingly by Beth. Last spring at Wesak we were given two artificial, white Bodhi Trees; Rev. Phoebe decided to paint them with more appropriate colors. During his month-long stay at the temple, our lay resident Flint spent many days painstakingly painting the leaves green and the stems gold—the result was quite remarkable and one of the Bodhi Trees graced our altar for the festival.

We held a Segaki Ceremony on October 30, this year on the front deck of the Buddha House. The weather was rainy and we needed a sheltered place. Rev. Seikai had recently built a new altar for the Shakyamuni Buddha which sits next to the front door; it worked well for the ceremony. The altar is made of recycled wood—some old table legs and pieces of scrap wood which were cut, glued together and planed to make the table top. Now that altar is festively decorated for the holiday season.