Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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The crew is getting smaller...

June 15, 2011 by Guest Author

Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

This month four of us are finishing residency at the Center. Tomorrow Chiso san, our Japanese monk, will be the first to leave. He has been with us for a month and was a real asset--totally accountable and available. His persistence in making himself clear in English was adorable. He kept apologizing for it, but obviously our Japanese is much worse!  He was here for the last sesshin of the Spring Training Period, when we sat on the tans in the zendo, facing inward--a completely different form from classical Soto school.  But he brought his down-to-earth approach to the variation, admitting even in Japan, each temple does it differently.  He'll be training at different Zen Centers in the US until the end of the year, under the supervision of the Sotoshu. Thank you for all you did, Chiso san!


Next to leave will be Kokai, Bry-guy. Another asset! Also always available and a big help on facilities. A key to the camaraderie among the residents, he's often the engine for outings like watching a movie or basketball.  And he plays guitar really well, which adds a coziness to the atmosphere in the Practice House. He leaves to fulfill his duties at Yosemite National Park for the summer season. He'll be back in the Fall Training Period--he's coming back for 8 years now--and is committed to being Head Trainee for the Spring Training Period 2012. So we don't say goodbye to him yet.


Then Graham will leave the end of this month. And again, another asset is leaving. He was asked to help out Yugen in the office and seamlessly took over many of the administrator's duties. Many of you who registered for an event at ZMC have had contact with him. And I think you would agree with me that he's utterly kind, good in following up, and patient. He will surely be missed! By the end of this month, Graham will have been with us for almost a year, and after some travels he wants to work in grassroots politics.


And I will leave as well at the end of this month. After 5 years in the USA, I will go back to Europe. When I left Holland five years ago, I was full of hope that I would find what I had been looking for all my life: peace and being at home. It has been a very rocky road, as I had to let go of all my beliefs, hopes, visions - and whatever more is in the way of being at peace. Also it was very clear that I did have to leave Holland and my familiar life there in order to be able to really let go of habitual patterns that kept me stuck in this place of suffering. Even though it has been the most difficult time in my life, especially the first 3 years, everything in me is intensely grateful for having been able to do these 5 years of intensive Zen training. I have found what I was looking for all my life. I am at peace, at home and very grateful for this precious life.  I'm not myself anymore and oddly enough more myself than ever before.

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