Local Sangha members have met weekly over a number of years for a Dharma book discussion twice each year in the fall and in the spring. This autumn Rev. Master Meiko joined the group sharing her experience of the Dharma and offering answers to the many questions that came up. For eight weeks the Sangha members explored the teaching of Eihei Dogen in Bendowa: The Wholehearted Way with commentary by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. As the weeks unfolded the Sangha members looked at how to put these particular teachings of Dogen’s into one’s practice each day. One member said The spirit of Zen was rich in each evening when the main topic of discussion was brought to life as the participants shared their thoughts and experiences.
Rev. Master Ando offered a kids’ Dharma class on Saturday afternoon, November 25th, the theme of which was “Gratitude”. Following lunch together and learning the “Five Thoughts” mealtime verse, the young ones contributed wisely to a lively discussion about their experience with being thankful and the importance of encouraging it in our daily lives. Some fun, colorful artwork became part of the expression of gratitude.
The monastery was closed from November 30 through December 10 as we celebrated our Rohatsu Retreat. We put down our monastic responsibilities to sit in meditation in honor of the Enlightenment of the Buddha. We are grateful to have this opportunity each year.
On December 17 we celebrated the Lay Donors’ Offering Ceremony with many of our congregation members in attendance. It was a joyful day of gratitude; we are deeply grateful for the training, the offerings, and above all the presence of those who come to the Abbey. This ceremony is a beautiful expression of that mutual support and regard.
Rev. Master Mugo visited the Bear River Meditation Group on December 17-18 and participated in the Lay Donors’ Offering Ceremony held by the Group. We are very grateful for the generosity of the offerings made by Group members, including offering this ceremony, as well as their faithful on-going training and their kindness to us.
Rev. Master Daishin ordained Tori Jones on December 20, 2017. He gave her the monastic name of Houn Ona, which means Grace within the Dharma Cloud. We wish her every success in her monastic life.
On Friday, December 29, Rev. Master Kodo was celebrant for the Memorial for Gabriel Whooley who died on December 14. His mother, Monica, and several other family members attended.
Twenty guests celebrated the New Year with us at our year-end retreat, with ceremonies, Dharma talks, meditation and conviviality. We appreciate their coming to the Abbey at this time: an auspicious beginning to the New Year.
The monastery will be closed from January 2 through February 1, 2018 to allow the monastic community to observe a more relaxed schedule. We will re-open on Friday, February 2, 2018, and look forward to seeing you then.