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This rudderless ship is sailing just fine

October 23, 2011 by Yugen

Jim Lakey Rev. Jim Yugen Lakey
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

This rudderless ship is sailing just fine

A still image from one of the videos I'm working on—Keijo doing zazen.

Tenshin Roshi is away in England for a couple of weeks, returning on October 30th. Every year he goes to the UK to run a sesshin with Keizan Sensei, his dharma successor who is based in Liverpool. It's always a bit odd having no teacher in the middle of training period, especially on the back of a sesshin. We also don't have a head trainee in residence right now. Eishu is not able to be here for more than the sesshins, so the 8 weeks around the sesshin have been head-trainee-less. With no teacher and no head trainee, there can be a tendency for things to fall apart a bit, with students getting restless or low on energy. On top of that, in lieu of the head trainee's presence, Bryan Kokai Mestman is acting as practice leader, but he also had to leave on Thursday for a family emergency. He'll hopefully be back with us on Wednesday. The head of the Meditation Hall, Jokai, has his son visiting for a few weeks, so he is also out for most of the time. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? But it hasn't been. I can only credit the trainees who are here right now and their commitment and diligence, as the schedule has been maintained as has the atmosphere of training. It is fantastic, for me, that we have a resident community currently who are mature enough to sustain their own practice with out a whip being cracked.

I'm up to my neck in video right now. I'm shooting and editing a number of videos for the new site which I want to get done on the next 5 days or so. I'm still pretty much on track as long as nothing major goes wrong. The unforeseen does, true to form, remain an entity of mystery who likes to crash in in obscure in often unwelcome ways. Although the unknown is the space in which the creative spark seems to appear, it can certainly put a wrench in the workings of well laid plans. Luckily, I don't have any of those (I kept meaning to put together some storyboards...) so I should be alright!

This week we are due to have a company come in to upgrade our off-grid system. I have a feeling it won't happen this week as we have not even paid for the parts yet. This project is a result of the Spring fundraiser and we have around $12,000 to put towards it, which was our target. With the new setup, we will be getting around 2.5 times the amount of solar power we are getting right now, which means we won't be as reliant on the generator. The new system will also automatically control the generator, so as long as we keep the fuel topped up, power-outages will shortly be a thing of the past. I have my fingers crossed as I type that as it just seems like that would be too easy, right? I'm excited to get the new system in as I've been working with the company figuring out which panels to get, how we will arrange them and all the other necessary considerations. There are a huge amount of logistics to figure out, but hopefully we have already covered the major ones at least and installing the equipment will be relatively straight forward. I'll post pictures after the install.

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