Monday, August 27, 2012

Clouds & Water Hermitage Dedication

On Saturday August 25th 2012, members of the Order of the Boundless Way joined with friends and neighbors for the dedication of Clouds and Water Hermitage. This event marks the beginning of what will become the primary retreat center for the Order of the Boundless Way.  Unsui-an  (雲水as Clouds and Water Hermitage would be translated into Japanese) refers to a temporary abode for those practitioners of Zen who move freely through life without the constraints and limitations of attachment, like floating clouds or flowing water.

The soon to be completed Zendo is the first of several structures that will eventually make up the compound to be used freely by members of our greater sangha, as well and friends and families, for the purpose of, regular sesshins, small group gatherings and solitary retreats. The goals for this year is to complete the Zendo building and place the first retreat hut so that we can begin to enjoy using the facility as soon as possible. Members and friends will be able to reserve time to stay at the Hermitage as soon as the retreat hut is delivered (stay tuned!)

The realization of our new center is only being made possible through the countless contributions of time, money and labor from friends and sangha members from all over the world.  We are deeply indebted to everyone who has contributed and look forward to the future contributions that will be needed to complete the fully envisioned facility.  The objective is to make Clouds and Water Hermitage fully functional for extended retreats for up to twelve practitioners, as well as, generally available for smaller groups, individual retreats, and one day social gatherings.

Open Gate sangha member Jessica Morgan has once again supplied us with a wonderful slide show highlighting Saturday’s events.   Thanks again Jessica!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

10th Anniversary Celebration Schedule

Today's volunteer crew on the ferry. Left to Right: Brian, Preston, Miles, Tre and Marc.

This Saturday, August 25th we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Order of the Boundless Way. The two day celebration will include the dedication of our Island Retreat Center, special seminars on the philosophy, history and practices of Boundless Mind Zen and the Order of the Boundless Way and a day of Zen practice.  All members of the Order and sangha are openly invited and encouraged to attend.

Work on the island property will be ongoing right up to the day of dedication with the celebration taking place with the unfinished building and facilities just as they are. Saturday’s celebration will be governed by the ferry schedule and will only include what can be completed in that seven hour window, but will include time for hiking around the island. On Sunday, August 26th, we will have a modified Zazenkai (座禅会) practice schedule back at Open Gate Zendo.  

Please plan to bring food to share on Saturday for the potluck lunch, but keep in mind that there are no kitchen facilities available so bring “picnic” style food that requires no additional cooking.

Those wishing to spend a night camping on the island should plan to do so Friday evening, so that everyone can be in attendance at Open Gate on Saturday evening.  All guests are welcome to come to the island on Friday, but be advised that there are no services or utilities on the island, so staying overnight will be a camping trip. Anyone wishing to camp on the island must be prepared for primitive accommodations – tents will be allowed but no campers or trailers.  If you need a ride to the ferry please let us know in advance and plan on arriving at Open Gate Zendo by 8:45. All vehicles must leave Olympia by 9:00 in order to be on time for the ferry.

 Saturday Celebration Schedule

9:45- 10:00 Arrive at Steilacoom ferry dock and purchase tickets.
(Ferry tickets are $21 for one vehicle and driver, $6 for each additional passenger).
10:20- Ferry leaves for Island
10:45- Arrive at Island Zendo and help prepare for ceremony.
11:30-12:00 Official Introductions
12:00-12:30 Dedication ceremony
12:30-1:30 Potluck Lunch
1:30-3:30 Presentations and Seminar Time
3:30-5:30 Free time for everyone
5:30 Prepare to depart .
6:00 Everyone Departs on Ferry.
7:00 Dinner at Hot Iron Mongolian Grill Olympia
9:00 Back at Open Gate for evening

Sunday Zazenkai Schedule

7:00-7:15 Arrive for Sesshin
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05-9:00 Breakfast ceremony (Oryoki)
9:00-9:30 Break and kitchen cleanup
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-11:00 Short Break
11:15-11:45 Dharma Talk
11:45- Call to Lunch (Han roll)
12:00-1:00 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)
1:00-1:30 Break and kitchen cleanup
1:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
1:30-2:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
2:45-3:00 Short Break
3:00-3:55 Tea Ceremony, Teisho/Group Discussion
3:55 Closing ceremony
4:00 Konsho (striking the evening bell)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Houston, The Zendo has Landed!

The construction the new Island Zendo was postponed by weather. A good week of no rain was needed to get the structure far enough along that it would support a tarp roof that would allow work to continue should the weather turn.  Summers are often late here in the Pacific Northwest and we really don’t expect summer to begin until after the Fourth of July. It was Tuesday July 10th when the timber skids were prepped and transformed into the portable building foundation.  Exactly one month later; Friday August 10th the Zendo was mobilized and hauled by flatbed trailer to it’s new island home.

The structure is now permanently placed and the detailed exposed beam rafter system is complete. Work continues as the dedication date grows near. The structure will not be complete on the day of the dedication, but will be “whole enough” to be an inviting venue for those who come to the island to join the celebration.  Many people have contributed time, sweat and money to make this happen and much is yet to be done.  It has been an exciting adventure so far and the transformation of the property and the progress on the building has been phenomenal.   

Sangha member Jessica Morgan has photo documented much of this process and has developed a slide show to share the experience of the last ten days. In the pictures you will see several sangha members and friend Tim Devlin, who has so graciously donated his time, truck, trailer and skills as a heavy equipment operator and building mover. You will see Hadashi Jeff Miles, in black (what else?), yours truly in green and brown, Charlie Barlow in red cap and Tim in the cool shades. Jessica was also there but never really managed to get in front of the camera.

Please enjoy Jessica’s slide show and let us know what you think.

Best regards,

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Meet Sean Harrington

Greetings all,

My name is Sean Harrington. I am 35, a Husband, a Father, a Public Servant, and dojin. I work in the State Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention programs. I have been practicing with the Open Gate Sangha of the Order of the Boundless Way for over two years now, and have been a formal Student since February of this year, although until now I have not been formally introduced to the membership of the Order. With ordination impending, this would appear to be the opportune moment.

I come from a family that was never very religious (I can’t remember ever attending church with my parents), but who were not avowed atheists – my parents each seemed to believe in god after a fashion. For my part, I was drawn to the biological sciences and didn’t really even consider spirituality. I first encountered Zen through reading Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums in high school. Something struck me as right about Zen, and I subsequently kept it “in my back pocket” while I went off to University.

I started to become affected by the “comings and goings” of life in my early twenties. I lost a parent (albeit after an extended illness), graduated from University, met my and married my wife, graduated again, lost the other parent, and became a father for the first time - all in less than ten years. Amid a swell of Great Doubt, my view of everything – life, meaning, acceptance - started to coalesce, and I returned to Zen.

I embarked on a period of study in which I read extensively of translations of major sutras and of Zen (Ch’an/Son/Thien) and Taoist literature, classical and modern. Eventually I came to the in hindsight flabbergastingly obvious realization that it was insufficient to treat this as an intellectual or philosophical exercise – actual practice was needed. After a false start or two, and during a period of spotty solo practice, I was introduced to the Order of the Boundless Way. This immediately struck me as right, and so here I am.

I have greatly enjoyed the support, camaraderie, and wisdom of the Order. Though I will be even more elusive than usual in the next few months (kid #3 is on the way!), I look forward to our future together as travelers on this Path. May all beings benefit from it.

Arigato gozaimasu,