Change is Afoot
August 15, 2011 by Yugen
What is it they say about sleeping dogs?
We held the monthly memorial service for Maezumi Roshi today. On the 14th of every month, we hold a service at the memorial site, which is up above all the cabins on the trail that lead to the PCT trail head. If the weather is bad, we sometimes do a special service in the Buddha Hall instead, but today, under the baking sun, we gathered and chanted and offered flowers, incense, sweet water, cakes and tea to Doun Roshi (the honorary founder of Yokoji) and Maezumi Roshi (the founder). What I really appreciated about today's service was that a) it went well, and b) it went well because of the combined efforts of a number of people. Our Ino, Travis Suiryu Eiseman, is away right now, and it is the Ino who is in charge of organizing ceremonies. In his absence, a number of people naturally filled in the gaps - Aaron, the cook, organized the cleaning of the site yesterday and John Van Gossen came up to help out with weeding and raking the site. Chigen bought some cakes up this morning to offer and John came back with fresh flowers for the vases on both the memorial stones. We were able to easily set up for the ceremony due to very clear typed up instructions by Graham, the previous chiden (one who is responsible for the maintenance of all ceremonial and temple objects, amongst other things), who was thoughtful enough to write down everything he learned while doing the job to help those that came afterwards. I always like it when the sangha steps in to help out, offering their time and donations, not out of a sense of duty, but because they really want to, because they really care. Part of the ceremony involves pouring water in bamboo ladles over the marker stones, and today under the intense summer sun, the lumps of granite seemed especially appreciative of their monthly dousing!
Things are going well with the business plan that I mentioned recently. We met as a board last Sunday to finish working out the details, and now leads for each item have been assigned and the work begins. Jokai is working with the membership, finding ways to foster a sense of community and ways to stay in touch with the members, to answer questions and offer support and guidance. I'm working with the website, updating content, building new pages, adding a new navigation bar to allow for the new content etc. I will be adding much more video content over the next year and also adding a forum for the sangha to use for discussion, feedback, sharing photos and stories and many other thing we haven't even thought of yet. There will be a new grassroots fundraising website for Yokoji supporters to use and a new pledge scheme that will be set up. There have been some internal shifts in the board set-up as well, to allow more communication between board members and to make their role in the organization clearer. So all in all, there is change afoot and before long, you guys will hopefully start to see, and join in with, parts of it.
Zenkei takes a precept-based approach to herb gardening