KAIHAN Fall 2000
North Carolina Zen Center 919-542-7411
283 Quartz Hill Road NCZENCENTER@prodigy.net
Pittsboro, NC 27312-6592 http://www2.emji.net/~nczen
Regular Practice at Brooks Branch Zendo on Ironwood Road Thursday from 7 to 9 PM Sunday from 10 to noon followed by tea until one.
Tuesday from 6 to 6:45 AM
The fall work weekend with Linda Campany, Joe Kenlan and his crew, Sandy Stewart, Jennifer Armstrong, Bill Stephens, Be Gardiner, Barbara Gordon and John Fitzgerald accomplished the interior plastering of the kitchen building and various other clean-up chores. In the short time between that weekend and the October sitting Sandy, Pronya Yegorov, a floor sander, and a professional tile setter were able to lay and finish all the floors. Even Sandy remarked on aching knees and back, but still he led us through the retreat weekend of sitting, walking, chanting, and eating with sufficient efficiency to allow time for painting most of the walls and ceilings. Thanks to Karen Fitzgerald, Philip Castevens, Jason Dowdle, and Robert Walker as well as Be, Sandy, Linda, and Barbara.
A highlight of the weekend was the installation of the toilet which replaces the blue portajohn. The hot water heater is on the new deck, awaiting its installation, and the fixtures for shower and sinks are ready to be set. The cooking range is in place.
An absent sitter, one who, like all of us except Sandy, has attended some work weekends but not others, sent the suggestion that in the future those who attend should not have to pay, but that those who do not attend will be asked to send a twenty-five dollar donation to feed those working and supply them with materials. Often at such events the very people who are sent to pick up supplies just buy them, exhibiting the generosity of their giving.
December 1-3, Sesshin in Nashville, TN, at Center Lake. Contact the Nashville Zen Group, Bill Compton, 1221 6th Ave., Nashville, TN 37208 or Lisa Ernst: 615-371-5441, email@example.com
November 23, Thanksgiving, the Brooks Branch Zendo will be closed.
June 28 - July 2, Southern Dharma Retreat Center, 828 622 7112, 1661 West Rd., Hot Springs, NC 28743; firstname.lastname@example.org SDRC has asked us to encourage people to attend this get together if we wish to schedule a full 7 days for 2002.
The bath house drawings are now in hand. The thirty-two feet by seventeen feet four inch building will house showers, toilets, and sinks for both sexes as well as a mechanical room for water heaters, storage, and maybe even a small workshop.
The Bath House
Sandy is talking with several contractors about estimates but we are expecting a 553 sq. ft. building to cost approximately $55,000. This will be the most complicated structure to date with a poured slab floor, lots of plumbing, and radiant heat.
³On August 3, I spent my first night in the cabin. For those of you who donıt know, the one-room cabin is tucked away in the woods behind the buildings under construction-- out of sight, within hearing. The no-electricity, frame building measures 12 x 12 and has windows all around.The inside perspective is tree house.
I named out loud all of you I know who worked on the little house, sometimes in snow, rain, heat, or heavy humidity.
I am grateful first to Sandy, who conceived the notion, helped with the site clearing and construction, and who with Susanna, donated some materials. I am grateful to Brad Parks, who volunteered to build it and drove back and forth on weekends from Charlotte to do so.
And I am grateful to you other builders/suppliers: Be Gardiner, John Parks, Joe Kenlan, Gary Wheaton, John Fitzgerald, Pronya Yegorov, Bill Stephens, Philip Castevens, John Iler, Drew Dunn,Carol Prokop, and to neighbors, Jim and Kathleen, who, when I finished the last moment of painting on a hot day,offered a cold Blue Moon.
One hundred and eight deep gasshos,
The intensive fund raising has resumed. We hope to raise $300,000 for the next phase of our project, which is a 3000 square feet, 3 story office/reception, dining, library/lounge and dormitory structure. We have applied for two grants .
We are planning a gourmet dinner, sitting, and desserts and champagne event for New Yearıs Eve. Anyone who would like to help with this or make reservations to attend please contact Barbara Gordon at 2217 Canterbury Rd, Burlington,NC, 27215, email@example.com. 336-586-9009. The cost will be $50 per person for the entire evening or $30 for the dinner and $20 for the after sitting refreshments. Dinner will be at 7:30, sitting from 9 until the 108 gongs of midnight.
A professional fund-raiser has reiterated in several meetings that the most effective method of raising money from individuals or foundations is through some personal contact. We invite all of you to help with this. You can make it your form of takuhatsu, the traditional Zen activity of asking for donations from the general community. And if you know a philanthropist or someone who is on the board of a foundation and you are willing to act as a link between them and us please let us know.
Contributions David Dyer, Shozan & Myodo Joslyn, Mary & Allen Whitham, C. T. Mansfield, Mary Lee Adler, Carter & Madelyn Smith, Tom Keeler, John Iler and Philip Castevens have made cash donations to the building fund. There were many other non-cash contributions .
On Samu A basic tenet of Buddhism is that everyone has Buddha nature. How do we realize this Buddha nature? The Diamond Sutra teaches that this happens when there is freedom from the idea of an ego-entity, a personality or a separate self. In other words, the self must be relinquished. How is this to be done? In Zazen, as we sit quietly and sweep away conceptual thoughts, we sweep away our limiting ideas of who we are. Then we are free to set with the sun, sing with the birds, and rustle with the leaves. But how do we practice when we need to sweep away those leaves from our path or prepare a meal?
In the Zen tradition, meditation in the activity of work is called samu. In samu practice, we have the opportunity to give ourselves completely to the job at hand. If we do this as we slice carrots, for example, there is just slice, slice, slice, in the harmonious activity of hands, knife and carrot. In this activity we have complete freedom from being a man or a woman, a Buddhist or a Christian, a Republican or a Democrat, and Buddha nature is revealed.
We may not always have cushions and a quiet place for sitting, but we can always find useful work for our practice.
-Bill Teido Stephens-
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