Dear zen friend
1) November mini Sesshin: 11/04, 05, and 06.
Valley Zendo is closed on 13th Sunday and 20th Sunday in November.
December mini Sesshin: 12/ 09, 10, and 11.
December Year End mini Sesshin: 12/ 29, 30, and 31.
2) One of founders of Valley Zendo passed in August. Memorial service was done, secular ceremonies were formally finished. Yet the feeling of loss has stayed. He cannot be forgotten. We do sitting practice in the house he built.
He was a hippie, a sustainable hippie. He made living by wood crafting and gardening. Many vegetables were grown in his land. Chickens and pigs were his friends. He avoided chemical sprays from his foods and land. He had been constantly aware of environmental disturbances.
He sang, played french horn. He built a studio for rehearsing music for his band. Friends gathered around him. His memorial was filled with music played by his teacher and his sons. A noble hippie has gone. An age of hippie is fading.
Uchiyama Roshi was interested in Hippie movement. He said Siddhartha was the first hippie in human history. He was a prince, the throne was promised. He was given all power and honor. Pricey materials were already gained. He was supposed to be satisfied. He escaped his castle and looked for the dharma in woods instead.
Uchiyama Roshi discussed with hippies and found what they were interested in. They seemed to look for something outside secular values. Young Americans did not have to worry about survival. America conquered the world, became the richest nation. Money and power were not attractive for hippies. They were drawn to something spiritual.
Hippies brought zen into the US culture. He was a part of that zen boom. He met Uchiyama Roshi in Kyoto and enjoyed sightseeing Japan. Zen was mystery for a hippie. Mystery draws attention of those who look for truths.
He had reason to lead a life of hippie. He was born in New York. Why did he move to country side? He kept dreams in his youth and realized a comfortable life style. He was one of creators of hippie culture.
In a sense he lived in a happy time. We have to eat more and more gene modified foods. Big businesses sell oil products and batteries while they do not know how to handle them ten years later. People are watched by surveillance cameras and through electric communications. How does a person find a path toward true self?
The possibility to realize hippie dreams seems to come true less and less these days.