Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

April, 2014

Secure the future of Yokoji.
Please give now.

We are extremely grateful for the assistance and messages of support we have received from the wider community since the fire and floods last year. It is truly touching to know that so many sanghas are willing to give their precious dana to support Yokoji in our time of need. Our struggle continues and we are turning to you, our brother and sister communities. Yokoji has served the local and international community for thirty years and we need your help to continue our mission.

The winter has almost passed and with it, the threat of major storms. The next concern for us is the late summer, the time that brought so much destruction last year after the fire. Our new defenses were tested on a couple of occasions over the past few months, and they worked as well as we could have hoped. The grounds are now protected with a series of debris pits, some of the key buildings by newly erected walls and the central stream bed has been widened and diverted from its original course which ran dangerously close to the office. There are still more defensive walls to be built, repairs to our mile-long dirt road, and further debris pits to be dug further upstream. All the defenses are provisional and subject to being excavated and rebuilt numerous times if heavy storms bring more mud and debris over the next few years. We are waiting on a quote from the contractor who dug the debris pits to empty them out after the last heavy storm at the beginning of March. This will likely be a recurring cost over the next 3 – 5 years until the valley stabilizes through the regrowth of grasses and scrub.

The fact that our defenses have worked so far is a cause for optimism. There is a good chance that Yokoji will continue to flourish for years to come. However, for that to become a reality, we need to work together and act now.

We are asking for you to donate what you can this year, and over the next few years, to realize Yokoji's future. We don't know the next time a big storm will come through and the damage it may cause. Aside from the ongoing cost of repairs and reestablishing defenses, we are facing a loss of regular income as long as the hillsides are unstable. We rely heavily on income from guest groups who come up and rent the facilities for a weekend or longer. Last year we had to cancel many of our regular groups and this year, we are only taking bookings for certain times of the year. We are working to find other ways to boost our income, but the staff and residents are few in number and can only do so much. There has been a heroic effort by a small number of people that has already made a big difference to the grounds. The work is ongoing and there are always ways to help.

Our operating costs are usually around $200,000 a year. This year we anticipate the costs to be close to $220,000. Our projected net income for 2014 is -$90,000. We cannot afford that kind of a loss.

The practice at Yokoji continues. We are honoring the safety of the residents and guests above all, so we will evacuate at any time that is necessary. However, this is likely to only be a few days of the year if at all. Otherwise, the year round training and sesshins will go ahead as planned. Together we can ensure that Yokoji weathers this storm.