Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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End of Summer

August 16, 2012 by Yugen

Jim Lakey Rev. Jim Yugen Lakey
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

End of Summer

One of the things you notice if you live at Yokoji for a while is just how many people come and go through the temple gates. Obviously, we have visitors: day trippers, retreat participants, hikers going through to the Pacific Crest Trail, delivery trucks and so on. But excluding this ongoing flow of temporary visitors, the faces you see here on a more permanent basis also have a habit of being, well, impermanent. Today we say goodbye to Alex. Alex has been living at Yokoji over the summer and has been training with us for a few years on and off prior to her period of residency. An MA in design at the Royal College of Art in London calls her away. It is always sad to see residents leave, but it is also encouraging - Alex came to Yokoji knowing she would leave at the end of summer and wanted to spend a period engaged in Zen practice before moving on to the next phase of her life, and that is what she has done. People have varying paths, and for some a stint at Yokoji is like a stepping-stone which gives them the opportunity to clarify their life before going on to the next thing. I'm glad that this training center has the flexibility to allow training to occur for anyone that willingly enters, regardless of the duration of their stay. The training here provides a container, but it is up to each trainee to bring it to life, and on this there are no time constraints. As Tenshin Roshi often says, you have to live and enjoy your life, as no one else is going to do if for you.

As people leave, they also arrive. This week we have Jean Yuho Ford arriving, who will serve as the head trainee for the fall. We also have another trainee from Utah coming in via the Palm Springs bus station on Saturday. Next week, Kate Wilson returns to Yokoji. Kate came and trained with us for 6 months but then had to return to her native Canada as her tourist visa expired. We went through the process of applying for, and successfully receiving, a religious workers visa for Kate, and she is now able to come and train here for another 36 months, with the possibility of  extending the visa to 5 years. We have a few other familiar faces returning this fall. Susan Tipton (star of the zazen page and video) will be here for the beginning of the training period, as will James Halsey, Thomas Cohn from Sweden (who trained with us a few years ago) and a number of others will be arriving later in the fall, including Lex Hanu Latkovski and possibly Bryan Kokai Mestman.

That is the beauty of the revolving-door-gateless-gate of Yokoji: there is constant coming and going, but at the core, it always remains the same.

With the training period only weeks away, we hope to see many of you up for the sesshins and regular schedule over the next few months. Join us for a day or for the whole period - you are always welcome to come and be a part of this ever-changing community.

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