"We take refuge in the sangha."
An all inclusive view would be the sangha as all beings in the ten directions and three times. So we take refuge and support from all that we are a part of stretching measurelessly into the past and future and present and encompassing all manifestations in those times. Another view is sangha as the unlimited aspect of our own nature.
A more immediate view would be to think in terms of the practice group that centers around Brooks Branch. This would include all the people who come to work days and construct and maintain buildings. Some live on site and work to ready materials and plans, some live close by and show up regularly to tend the paths, build a gate, paint: neighbors who offer a retreatant a place to sleep or frequently loan tools or materials. Some drive long distances willing when they arrive to spend days filling nail holes, or travel pulling trailers of tools and bringing the hands to use them. There are some who, week after week, come to babysit as a contribution to the work at the center. One who can't get there personally sends babysitting money. It would include those who bring meals for the construction workers; hot stews for those who have spent mornings in the cold, salads and rice for warmer days. There's one who keeps up the web site, another who manages the mailing lists. Some of us live very far away and must make do with monetary contributions. Some have taken the precepts, some are ordained, some are married into the practice. It would include those who come to sit in formal practice, even if just once, as well as those who arrive even on the coldest mornings to take advantage of the daily zazen. There are those who work to organize retreat weekends; arranging accommodations, planning meals and gathering food, keeping schedules and serving tea; those who are on the board of directors. One of us comes as the teacher, working his construction and office shifts as well as welcoming us to the interview room.
Sometimes we get together and there is great harmony and joyousness; chatty ikkyus on a sunny deck. Some times are filled with quiet peace; people moving quietly through the kitchen while the tenzo cooks. Other times there are currents and undercurrents of dissatisfaction and disagreement, plans and counter plans, frustrations voiced and unvoiced.
New faces appear and with them new energy and new possibilities. Sometimes people "have enough" and we don't see them any more. Other times their lives of practice take them out of range.
But in all of this we are grateful for it is the community in which we take refuge, our sangha. It is the community whose members dedicate themselves to the practice of their own awakening and the awakening of all beings.
The New Year's Eve event managed by Roxanne Henderson was very successful. The contributions of $910 were sent to Sarvodaya, a Buddhist organization helping with tsunami relief in Sri Lanka.
A new feature of the Center is a long circular Kinhin path down through the woods and along the creek. Matt Young has managed to clear the way while staying within range of the baby monitor that alerts him to the ends of Samanašs naps. Recently a load of dirt has been brought in to fill some of the most uneven spots but it will need to be wheel barrowed from the dumping site. Check with Matt if you would like to help.
One of the topics the Board of Directors discussed at their most recent meeting concerned the parameters and benefits of membership in the NC Zen Center. The board decided to hold a membership meeting on April 17th. Pot luck lunch will follow the sitting. All are welcome. The hope is to create a regular forum for more communication in our sangha about the activity of the Zen Center. Currently, members are those who contribute at least $50 a year. These contributions go into the general fund and are the main source of funding for the running and upkeep of the center.
Donors of money or time or both have been Mary Lee Adler, Alan & Mary Whitham, Heidimarie Weidner, Jacquelyne Stemmer, Lamar Proctor, Walter Pharr, Anna & Shawn Madden, David Dyer, Grace Huffman, Lisa Richey & Stefano Ponte, Bill Compton, Robert & Susan Simons, John Baugh, Bill Stephens, Carol Hewitt, Grace Penny, Richard Bradbury, Marilyn Mears, John Iler, Roxanne Henderson, Melody Ivins, Pam Berger, Be Gardiner, Joan Trimmer, Brad Page, Leila Webster, Kalo Baron, Jason & Laura Dowdle, Sean Rowe & Margaret Lundy, Barbara Gordon, Linda Campany, John Boston, Jennifer Armstrong, BJ & Dina O'Brien, Juanita Remien, Joe Kenlan, Matt Young, Julie Holmes, Beth and Lynn Hoffman, Catherine Boston, Michael Brown, Alan Haskins and Andrew Ekblad.
A dear old friend pens,
Cleaning the cat-boxes
slant sun on kitty-litter
Ryo-an-ji right here!
Back to Kaihan List | Fall 04 | Spring 05 | Home | Welcome