Altered States…

A long 14 day journey. In part pilgrimage.

A week at our monastery for the Daijukai (Receiving the Precepts), retreat. Very vivid, very informative. I learned a lot by just seeing how we all worked in unison even when we didn’t. Lot’s of ceremony and ritual (which I personally like very much), but can be a bit of a surprise to those that think Zen has no such thing. It is the fully half of the training, and all of the training in that we bring our meditation to these active practices. The same meditation we bring to our sitting practice. I had some great meetings with old friends and  also great communion with all of the others who were there in preparing and participating in the five ceremonies that comprise this weeklong retreat. Several things I learned seemed to be of the type that penetrate the heart and slowly take root and become real and true. The Dharma talks and discussions were also very helpful.

One aspect that I liked very much was the fact that several of the monks there were laypeople with me years ago and their practice has matured in the form of a Monk; and mine, I was pleasantly surprised to realize, had also matured in the form of the Householder, or layperson.

After seven days I went on to Joseph, OR to visit the Wallowa Buddhist Temple, where RM Meido and Reverend Clairissa reside and teach. They are just in the process of putting some final touches on a four year long project that culminated in a beautiful, comfortable and completely peaceful guesthouse at the bottom of the the Wallowa Mountains and adjacent to Hurricane Creek. Stunning! A true temple were Zen is taught and transmitted through words and kindness. I would recommend this to anyone. The Temple, the mountains, the Valley, the people, the rivers and lakes; the community. Priceless.

After three days there I went on to eastern Washington to spend some time renewing acquaintance with my neighbors there and picked up a lot of my Buddhist things (altars, statues, etc) and once again experienced the deep sense of community that was displayed during the 10 year or so Linda and I lived there. The love and caring that we experienced there as we entered the community and then as Linda became sicker and then died in January of last year, was still evident. Tekoa, WA. Those little towns are a different world from the hustle and bustle of the urban life. Yes there are many things exactly the same, but also some really important differences.

I also had a chance to visit with another Monk friend who has the small Benewah Buddhist Temple, in St. Maries, ID. A major logging town in the Panhandle. We had a great lunch at the St. Maries Golf course. A great little Mexican restaurant with a terrific view of this mountain golf course. One can watch all sorts of deer, turkey, and assorted wildlife on the course, with the occasional golfer spotted too.

Now back and winding down, have my altar set up in the little apartment I’m temporarily in and looking forward to whatever is next.20150407_122705_resized

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