I’ve always loved temples. In India, where I come from, the temple is built on a plan that physically embodies the form of a divinity, while the journey from its outer precincts to its innermost sanctum is a symbol of the spiritual journey. We move from the worldly courtyard, where all forms of human activity are transacted through successively smaller portals, until we enter the small, dark, lamp-lit center where the sacred silence of the Infinite is reflected in our heartbeat. It’s so clear that a temple is shaped by the energy of the thousands of human beings that have made the pilgrimage. From the petitioner who wants the job interview to the saint that seeks sublimation with God, one feels the power of every prayer that has ever been uttered within the stonewalls.
And so it is with the Monastery. As one approaches the gate and drives down the avenue of pines, a tranquility descends that soothes the heart. The singing birds, the deer that wander daintily around, the scampering squirrels, the elusive bear, and the tiny bejeweled frogs signal this space as safe. All seekers are welcome. It’s a container of generosity, beauty, and compassion, a microcosm of Life’s wisdom that gently supports all in the “way of transformation.” This sacred place, physically forged from the gratitude of those who have deeply benefited from its guidance, is both the crucible and the loving embrace within which we encounter and transcend the fires of suffering.
How do we ever repay what we have received from this temple? By giving back in love what it gives us in love. Taking care of our spiritual home is an act of worship, an offering of thanksgiving that takes us to the inner sanctum of divinity in indescribable ways. As we bring all of the attention to a simple task of service, sweeping the porch or cutting a carrot or weeding the garden or chipping wood, the voices of separation are worn away and we fall into an exhilarating sacredness.
Anyone who attended this last “Summer- Seasons of Joy Retreat” can attest to having some version of this experience. We tap into the power of faith that moves mountains, and then wonder at the magnitude of what That Which Animates can accomplish. It’s breathtaking how magnificent the temple looks at the end of four days, how satisfied we feel in what has been created in this act of taking care of what takes care of us.
This is one occasion the pictures don’t tell the story….
Acres weed-whacked, Garden tended, Creek road reclaimed, Delicious meals cooked…. Make sure you don’t miss the next opportunity to Experience the Buddha in the temple precincts of the Monastery.
Thistle had grown up in many areas of the Monastery property. The Seasons of Joy crew took on pulling it all! This photo shows the thistle growth before the clearing.
Amazing what a big crew can accomplish in a short time!
The road to the creek is once again a road. Many hands made extraordinary fun of heavy work!
Much care was given to the garden. The first raspberry is harvested. Very exciting!
This fence was covered, top to bottom, in climbing weeds, but now there’s a clear view of the garden.
This weed remnant hanging on a fence is all that’s left of a wall of weeds that the crew tackled.
Last year’s Bridge Walk set records for windiest ever! We set up the tents and gave them the TLC needed to make them ready for this year’s event on October 14.