Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Summer Plans for Clouds and Water Hermitage

The future "finished look" for Zendo at Clouds and Water Hermitage
Clouds and Water Hermitage
An Invitation to visit and support our special Retreat
By  Neaka Kaizen / Valerie Grigg Devis

In the Summer of 2012, our Order held a Dedication Ceremony for a new Island Retreat.  The “Clouds and Water Hermitage” is located less than 30 minutes from Olympia and is available for use by all Boundless Way sangha members & our invited guests.  Few people live on the island, so it’s a quiet place we share with wildlife, marine habitat, quiet forest paths, thistles & wildflowers.  For those of us who have stayed there, the Hermitage has become a place of solitude, healing, celebration and rededication to our practice. 

The First Hut with the unfinished Zendo in the background

A Definition of “Hermitage” (borrowed from Wikipedia): A hermitage is a type of monastery. Typically it has a room or dedicated space for religious devotion, very basic sleeping quarters and other provisions suitable for the ascetic way of living. Traditionally, hermitages have been located in caves and huts, in the desert or woods... 

Current Zendo Status

The Hermitage property was gifted to our Order by island resident Johnnie Paradiso with the hope that our community would become a regular presence among the island community.  To fully benefit from the tranquility it provides, our members are welcome to visit throughout the season.  Eventually, we would like to share this wonderful retreat with other like-minded practitioners as well. 

Valerie and Maitri at the first Hermitage Women's Retreat

During the last several years, a Zendo & Hut have been masterfully built by Miles and transported to the site by ferry.  Each structure is carefully placed to enjoy a waterfront view of Puget Sound.  The zendo can sit up to 12 in zazen and the Hut sleeps 2 comfortably.  There is no water or electricity on site, so conditions require basic camping skills.  There are woodland trails to walk and access to a secluded beach nearby. 

This year, Miles is planning our Summer Sesshen at the Island Hermitage.  In preparation, we would like to encourage everyone to take part.   As the season begins, we can start by arranging informal Work Parties – which will include weeding and tending to the structures.  This is a wonderful time to share smiles, sweat and samu (work practice) with our dharma brothers & sisters.  I encourage you to consider volunteering to organize a work party or to participate. 

In addition, we would like to complete the following projects to improve the site for use by all:

·       Installation of a “dry” toilet (currently, we use a bucket!)

·       Roofing for the Zendo (currently, there is a tarp on it)

·       Doors and windows for the Zendo (currently, there are empty openings)

·       Flooring for the Zendo (currently, there is bare plywood)

·       Build a Galley House (kitchen for preparing retreat meals)

The cost to complete these projects is $8,000 to $12,000.  This is a very modest amount compared to the value of the property & improvements which are already in place.  When these projects are done, the Retreat will be in sound condition for years to come & can benefit many visitors and guests.  We would like to begin working on this in May and hopefully complete these improvements before Summer ends.  It would be great to have a most of it done by Summer Sesshin so that we can enjoy the fruits of our labors during our retreat.  Therefore, Jean-Luc and Valerie are offering a “Match Fund” for each dollar contributed towards the Island Hermitage up to $4,000.  Please join us in contributing to this special place if you are able to do so.  You can make your checks to:

Open Gate Zendo
c/o Koro Kaisan Miles
4123 Biscay St NW


Bowing Fondly to you All~!

Neika Kaizen
(Valerie Grigg Devis)

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