Another Home Based Practice month was conducted during July, this time with about a dozen participants. People continue to find it helpful to be in regular email contact with each other to be more focused on their practice while at home. If you are interested in the next one, during January 2015, please contact the temple.
After a much needed time of rest and renewal, which was made possible by the kind and generous help of Sally, Dee, Beth and Benjamin looking after the temple animals, buildings and gardens, the monks were happy to return from their journey to the north. On our trip we visited with various friends in Arcata and Portland, spent four days on the Oregon Coast with Rev. Seikai’s family, and we saw many beautiful sights.
Together with Rev. Master Meiko of the Portland priory we visited Revs. Kyogen and Gyokuko Carlson, abbots of the Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland. They gave us a tour of their extensive building site, which is very impressive, and offered us a congenial tea afterwards. We talked a lot about their dream of building a large practice place with housing facilities and community gardens which is in the process of being realized. We are very glad we made this visit, since Rev. Kyogen suddenly died of a massive heart attack on September 18. Our thoughts are with his wife Rev. Gyokuko and all their many students, and we offer much merit for the continuation of their efforts.
On August 24 Anna Hemmingway, a friend of the temple who lived in Ojai, died in her native England after a year of illness. We held a Memorial Service for her before our Members Meeting on August 31, and there will be another memorial for her in Ojai on the afternoon of October 26.
On September 6th the Claremont New Mind Meditation Group led by Rev. John Thomas came again for a one day retreat. There were about 25 very enthusiastic practitioners of all age groups. They very much enjoy visiting our temple and spending a day of practice here.
Our wonderful old dog Della, who is now 14, is ill with cancer and may not have much longer to live. She had surgery in the spring to remove an anal tumor, which gave her several more months of life, but the tumor has returned and is inoperable. She is receiving hormone pills that are making her more comfortable for now. She probably has only a few more months to live. Anyone who knows Della and would like to say goodbye to her in her last days is welcome to come and visit her.
Our vegetable garden was very fruitful this year; even the tomatoes found the climate in their new bed acceptable and did well. Of late, rodents have figured out how to climb the chicken wire of the raised tomato bed and have been helping themselves to the ripest ones! But, we are happy to share with all beings. Once again we had prolific crops of eggplant, peppers, chard, lettuce and spinach. The winter garden is underway, with leeks being planted, as well as more leafy greens.
Reverend Phoebe admiring a massive sequoia tree on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoia National Monument