This transitional time, from guest season to work period, has occasioned numerous moments of intense appreciation and gratitude. This is my ninth guest season, and every year, it feels like a miracle. As director, now more than ever before, I appreciate that this miracle happens because of the many individuals who have worked so hard and done so much to make guest season possible—from the Program Dept. and Reservations office, to the senior staff, crew heads, and the nearly 200 students who passed through the gate to participate in this year’s summer work practice period. Above all, I want to thank the guests, from first-timers to old-timers, who joined us for this special summer in the valley.
On September 9, Myogen Steve Stucky led the students in a procession up to the new gate for the traditional gate closing ceremony, to mark the end of the summer. After chanting the Heart Sutra, Tanto Greg Fain and I read out the names of this year’s students, dedicating the merit of the ceremony to them. As I looked around at the faces of those who remained, and listened to the names of this summer’s students who had already come and gone, the faces and memories ran together in a river of continuous, yet ever-changing, community of practice, generosity, kindness and perseverance.
The following morning, the first wave of work period volunteers arrived, bringing tools, materials, and a lot of joyous enthusiasm. Paul Discoe and his apprentices came to complete the temple gate. They will finish the clay wall on either side of the gate, the roof thatch, and the wooden portion of the gate itself, including the doors. (Although the gate was “closed” ceremonially, the physical closing of the gate will take place at the end of work period, once we have installed the doors to close.) Other projects include installing beautiful new LED path lights in the central area and work on Dharma Rain, our rooftop sprinkler system. These three projects in particular are due to generous donations to the Capital Campaign.
May the merit of our practice together continue to nourish each one of us, each other, and our many, treasured guests, who come to share in our life together each summer. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free.
One of the highlights of this year has been the masterful building of the temple gate. In this time-lapse video you can view the building progress through the end of Spring Work Period.
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