Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Retreat Hut at the Island Hermitage

We had a great adventure this last weekend delivering the first hut to Clouds and Water Hermitage. It was a beautiful, albeit hot, summer day. The adventure began when we discovered that the weight of the Hut had compressed the trailer springs just enough to cause the tires to rub on the fender support brackets, so we had to remove the fenders. This technical difficulty caused us to start off nearly an hour later than planned. However, we were optimistic and proceed to the ferry dock at a lumbering 45 miles per hour.

As it was, we missed the morning ferry just by a few minutes, but missing the boat, is missing the boat, even if by a few seconds. So we settled in at the ferry dock and waited for the next run, which wouldn’t happen for five hours.  This gave us plenty of time to have a leisurely breakfast at a local restaurant, take cat naps and give tours of the hut to curious folks, who like us, were waiting for the ferry.

Placing the hut was exceptionally arduous because the driveway was too narrow and we could not use the truck, so we had to push it uphill and into place by Sangha Power! Everyone joined in pulling from the front and pushing from the rear to muscle it into place, but we managed to get it placed exactly as we wanted.

Jessica Morgan has sent us one of her wonderful slide shows documenting our adventure, from the driveway at Open Gate to the perch overlooking the ocean cliff.

Jessica's slide show can be found here:Traveling Retreat Hut

As shown in the photos, the eves fold down to allow road transport, and this worked remarkable well. The hut is built in the post and beam, plaster walled manner of a Japanese Tea house. It has two matching bunks, each with shoji windows, shelf above and storage under the bunk. The future plan is to build a small deck to replace the temporary stairs and hide the fact that the hut is on a trailer.

A very special thanks to everyone who contributed to the hut, both in cash donations and sweat equity. I hope everyone will take time and enjoy some private retreat time, and maybe do some weed whacking therapy. :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Meet Ann Tjhung


Greetings to everyone!

For those of you who already know me and for those of you I have yet to meet, I would like to share a little about myself:

My name is Ann Tjhung (pronounced like Chung).

I live in University Place, Washington and I am Austrian, German, Hungarian, and Irish, my husband, of 24 years, is Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch. We have three children ages 18, 21, (and 23 deceased), one girl and two boys.  Jasmine, my daughter, is a regular participating member of our Sangha at Open Gate, my mother Lorraine, is also a regular member.
Currently I am a full time mother and as for a potential future career, I continue to take classes for web-design, programming and database management; I have and continue to created and maintain websites and databases. I also volunteer, as a parent volunteer at our High School, helping to teach NJROTC students web programming for our Unit website: http://www.curtisnjrotc.org.

I hold the level of orange sash in Shaolin Kung Fu (four years of conditioning, forms, and weapons), I am a musician (flute and Irish whistle).

As for my Buddhist practice; I have been a Buddhist for about 7 years, and little over a year ago, I was appointed by my departing teacher to lead the Buddhist Community at Joint Base Lewis McChord. It was at that time that I began regular attendance at Open Gate Zendo and formerly became student of Koro-san  Miles (Koro Kaisan).

It may seem strange for me to have so much responsibility in such a short time, but you see, it is a long story of study and hard practice.
A story that includes persevering through 10 years of the slow recovery of brain function as a victim of an “splash” lightning strike (a grueling ordeal which required that I meditate for survival), and on a completely separate occasion, the sudden death of my 19 year old son, a United States Marine. The loss of Andrew, marked the beginning of my attendance as a member of the Joint Base Lewis McChord Buddhist Community Sangha, which then lead to the leadership position that I currently hold as the leader of the same.

My official government Facebook page: JBLM Buddhist Community https://www.facebook.com/jblmbuddhistcom?ref_type=bookmark
I am also currently helping a man that was homeless create a new life, and I am thinking of starting a non-profit organization to benefit the homeless.

Thank you so much for all of you; the Sangha at Open Gate!
I have made so many friends, friends that I hope to have for a very long time!

Thank you,
Namaste and Peace,
Ann Tjhung