Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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Post-Fire Report Postponed

August 03, 2013 by Yugen

Jim Lakey Rev. Jim Yugen Lakey
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

Post-Fire Report Postponed

A diversory wall made of some of the mud and rock that came down in the last storm, built to protect the shop.

We were informed yesterday that the Forest Service report on recommendations for Apple Canyon will be finished, and the public meeting scheduled for, some time toward the end of next week. We have received some very useful information from a number of people regarding ways to construct water and mud defenses, and we're eager to start drawing up plans as to how best do this once we get the report and have a sense of what we might be up against. Even if the recommendation is to not be here for the winter, there is a lot we can do before that point.

We received the first check from our insurers for some of the damage sustained during the fire, but until we have the report, we can't plan for our business interruption coverage as we don't know if we'll have to be closed for a period of time or not. It seems like almost everything hinges on the report and we really can't do much in way of planning until we get it.

We have made more progress this week getting the infrastructure of Yokoji repaired and operational again. The phone lines are back up, as of yesterday afternoon. Verizon found the fault to be on our end, and upon investigation, a cable that was a little too close to the surface of the road (it had been laid over a drainage culvert) had been burned in the fire. Verizon wouldn't fix it, as it wasn't their equipment that was at fault. The Verizon engineer (who it transpired was a Buddhist, and was eager to help as far as he could) gave us an overview of how to mend the line. It turned out to be fairly easy and we took the opportunity to properly house the newly-spliced line in cement boxes and dig a proper trench for it underneath the culvert. We are now back in business, at least phone-wise.

After meeting with the water specialists from Riverside County Environmental Health on Wednesday, we planned on sanitizing the water in the tanks with chlorine, so we could use it for drinking and cooking. Once all the work on the wells is done, we will chlorinate all the new plumbing so that all the lines are clean. We will then be able to take new test samples, which if clear, will allow us to use the water straight from the wells with no further chlorination. Right now, we are using the same levels of chlorine that you would find in water from a regular municipal service. The day after the visit from Environmental Health, we received an email from one of the officers giving us the contact information for a local man, Merl Johnson, who takes care of a number of local water supplies. Merl came out and met with us and walked us through the whole process of chlorination and testing to ensure the levels remained between acceptable levels. He offered his services for free, asking us to cover only materials, and plans to come back and check-in with us periodically to ensure we're still on track.

One of the upsides of all that has occurred in the past few weeks is the new connections that have been made, with folks both local and further afield. With the support we are receiving, we are able to replace or fix any damage with stronger, more up-to-date solutions. We are learning a lot right now and the work being done will only make Yokoji stronger. Thank you to all that have contributed so far and to those that have pledged to help in the near future.

Tomorrow, we will hold the regular Sunday Schedule—we hope to see some of you then.

Even just looking at some of these rocks is tiring. Even just looking at some of these rocks is tiring.


  • Genku:

    06 Aug 2013 19:00:59

    Thank you so much for these updates, Yugen!

  • Jordan:

    07 Aug 2013 09:14:25

    Awesome, great to hear. Yes, it sounds like this mended bone won’t break in the same place again. I love the new walls too.

  • Lana Shoshin:

    11 Aug 2013 13:33:58

    Thank you for your regular updates. The generosity of “strangers” that is emerging is inspiring. The wall is truly making tasty lemonade from lemons.

  • Nikos L.:

    12 Aug 2013 01:35:59

    Great photos!

    May Yokoji repair, recalibrate, and recover well.

    What is the status of Maezumi’s stupa?

  • Yugen:

    12 Aug 2013 10:19:51

    Nikos—the memorial site is still covered in mud. There is a natural flow point directly above it, and the stones are partially buried. We will clean it up when we have time, bit it is fairly low priority. There is a chance we may need to move it in the long run.

  • donryu:

    13 Aug 2013 10:16:13

    Taizan’s stupa is directly under your feet. Always.

  • Chozen:

    01 Oct 2013 15:25:37

    Thank you for these updates and for all the hard work you have been putting into reclaiming Yokoji for future use. Your dedicated work is evidence of that seamless stupa.

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