News October 1, 2016
The second part of June and all of July we had lots of visiting practitioners, several of whom stayed for a week or more, and on Sunday july 17 we were pleasantly surprised by having 15 people for the Kshtigarbha Ceremony and delicious potluck lunch. Kshtigarbha is the Bodhisattva of Optimism and Courage and our temple is dedicated to him. There are many smaller statues of this figure on the temple grounds, and a large gold colored one is on top of one of our hills, overlooking and protecting the valley.
On July 29 Paul Herren took the Precepts and became one of our temple members, we welcome him and wish him well in his practice.
Temple members help us in many ways, through their commitment to do their own meditation and training, and their regular presence, and by making a financial pledge which makes it possible for us to continue to live from donations and offer anyone who wishes to share in our practice without having to set a fee. The benefits of being a member are practical in that you become part of a group of like minded people who can support you in your practice, and deeply spiritual on a personal level where the fruits of commitment develop.
We encourage anyone who is serious about their practice, to consider becoming a member, and talk about that to another member or one of the monks.
There was a forest fire on the far side of Pine Mountain that went on for about 3 weeks, the temple was never in danger but it was good to be reminded of the need for clearing the grounds ( which we had done already), and being prepared for evacuation. We had several generous offers of a place to stay, and help with transportation in case of need, and were grateful not to have to make use of those. It is good to know those offers are there, and we do keep them in mind.
In August the monks were able to go away for a much needed period of rest and renewal and family visits, we had Chris here as caretaker and Bert, Dee, Paul and Beth all came out regularly to keep him company and make sure he had enough food. The dogs bonded even more in the three weeks of living together without their persons, and are now almost inseparable.
September has started off calmly, we have one resident trainee, Travis. We were given a lot of wood that needs processing, and had to take down a couple of dead trees ourselves as well, so there is no shortage of firewood.
Two new fish were born in our pond and made it to full fish-hood, which is a sign of good pond health and a pleasure to see. The vegetable gardens had a hard time this summer, and not even zucchinis are making it. Fortunately we are not farmers and don’t depend on those for our livelihood. Perhaps the winter garden will fare a bit better.
Our heating ducts are in need of repair and maintenance; we have a very good father and son team who have done work for us for years, and will take on the job. If you would like to help pay for this big project, please make your donation to our Building Fund, which includes maintenance.
by Sally Brown.
I’m tired. Not all the time, but enough so that I can not depend on not being tired. There are days when it seems relentless, and other hours where I think it is all in my head.
The strange thing is, I have never been happier. Happier because of all that I am learning about myself and Buddhist practice.
The other day I woke up with the mantra ‘I’m tired’ as the first thought of the morning. I opened my eyes and decided to lay there for a few moments. I usually get right up and get going – tea, reading, meditation, and on to the day. But this morning I lay there and looked out the window. Really taking a good deep look. It was beautiful. About four different colors with many shades of each blending together in a stormy sky, broken by the morning sun. It was so beautiful. If I hadn’t been tired, I would have missed it.
I remember when I first went to Shasta Abbey, before coming to Pine Mountain, we would have meditation periods, work periods, eating times, resting time, tea with talks, and more meditation. There was a schedule that had to be kept. At first I wanted to accomplish the task at hand, finishing perfectly to the end. Show everyone how good I was because I could accomplish. (It has taken me years to understand that this is a habit, not a necessity of life.) A bell would ring, or someone would look at a clock and whatever we were working on had to be stopped, finished or not, tools put away, and on to the next item on the schedule. It sent shock waves through my system to Not Finish The Task. Finally I learned the wisdom behind the training and I use it now with tiredness. When I start to sink, when my body says enough, when the interior bell rings – I stop. It isn’t always comfortable or convenient, sometimes I fight it, but I ask myself, is what I’m doing that important? How quickly can I get out of where I am and get to a resting place. Isn’t tending to my life force more important than finishing the task? Well yes. Aren’t we here to listen to our Buddha nature?
I had a swamp of visitors this year. All welcomed and wanted, and nobody overlapped. Where I live we have what feels like three months of summer and everyone wants to come then. So I was fortunate to have the proper spacing but it does take a toll. One set of visitors were family members with whom I have things to work out. Each year I want more from them – more time, more conversation, more signs of affection – you name it. This year, because I was going slow (the tiredness), I thought I would try to think it differently. What if I was very pleased and happy with what was offered. Enjoy the moments I had. Forget about what I wanted, deserved, craved. It occurred to me then, that this is one of the basic principles of teaching – giving up wants and desires to find true happiness. Because believe me, there were few enough moments and I was out to enjoy each and every nanosecond of them all! Wow, did that feel good! Pure loving happiness. It was difficult, for sure, to ask for nothing, find ways to give joy (freshly made pesto!), and not fall back on the old wants and desires routine. I did it because I was too tired to beg for more. I took a step forward with the edgy relationships and going slower helped that come about.
I am not suggesting that anyone ‘get tired’ as a way to enlightenment. I am working to find out what is causing this state and get out of it. It is difficult on my mind. Now I try not to be involved in the community. Not to volunteer to do fun things. Say no nicely. Tell friends I’ve had enough and need to go home. But I can do what I can do and that has turned out to be something I’ve wanted to do for years – sorting out and finding new homes for stuff that has accumulated in the house for the last 40 years. This is a huge task – right? Looks immense. So big I haven’t been able to touch it in all those 40 years. So, in keeping with the theme of going slow, I take an item, or a category (embroidery supplies) and find someone who wants/needs it. One item at a time. I am very slowly make space. I am cleaning out not only material objects that clutter my life, but psychic clutter as well. Once all those things that are not used or are held for memory value only are gone, what will come in? What will be left? Who can I be? I’m excited by the wonder. It feels like becoming a kid again. Emptying out and letting my Buddha nature fill the space. I would never have started on a journey of this depth if it hadn’t been for the depth of the tiredness.
I am tired, and I am grateful for it.
As well as generous offerings of food and drink the monks received: office supplies, gardening supplies, art supplies, Paper towels, TP and napkins, a food blender, a coffeemaker, garden hose, cleaning supplies, phone minutes, books, printed cards, medication, flowers, a pan, many tools, the loan of a wood splitter and firewood.
The Temple can use: Lysol Toilet cleaner, de-Solvit or Orange Oil, Forever stamps first class and Global, Large plastic bags for recycling, paper towels, paper plates, organic Peanut Butter, mixed nuts, Nature’s Miracle stain and odor remover, solar powered lights for our paths, candles for the meditation hall ( white, 3″ dia), white vinegar for cleaning, tofu and pasta.