Dear zen friend
1) March mini sesshin: 03/10 to. 03/12
April mini sesshin: 04/07/ to 04/09
2) At 7 am in the morning of February 4th, I looked at the thermostat outside the window and witnessed that the temperature was -30 Fahrenheit (-35 Centigrade).
Low temperature (-17F) was predicted through internet. The forecast was scary, so I wanted confirmation by my eyes. It was the record low temperature for Valley Zendo.
Usually air temperature drops to -10F (-25C) one or two times during winter. I was ready to handle such coldness. Room temperature was 70F (20C) thanks to a wood stove.
Mercury is used for a thermostat. Mercury is the only metal which is liquid in ordinary temperatures in our lives. Its fusing point is -39C. The bottom temperatures shown for commercial mercury gauges are -40F (-40C). Thermostats might have been broken if the temperature were 10F (5C) lower than the new record.
3) Two Indian Americans (not native Americans) have announced their candidacies for president.
America is not a small country. A presidential candidate must have a certain view of the world. America is not a young country either. Ideas and experiments were executed and many of them seem not to work well. A fact that the president runs the nation based on a reliable vision has become ever more important.
I have learned Indian ideas and people through Buddhism and Bollywood movies. Buddhist Sutras explain deep philosophies whenever Sutras are open. They are products of an ancient Indian civilization. Of course Buddhism teaches a view of the world.
Bollywood movies are mainly made for ordinary Indians, Hindis. Bollywood produces two times more movies than Hollywood. They show dynamism of Indian civilization in ancient times as well as in modern society. Their masterpieces are highly refined and entertaining. A film full of dancing and singing indicates how smart Indian civilization is. Those movies transmit another view of the world from Indian subcontinent.
Hinduism is not monotheism. There are multiple saints in Hinduism. Shakyamuni Buddha is regarded as one of their saints for Indians. Buddhism and Hinduism are fused.
I do not know religion for the two presidential candidates. I guess they likely know the treasure of Indian traditions. They hold some values and visions of Indian civilization addition to American capitalism and democracy.
An Indian American claims that many Indian descendants have become too Americans by losing Hindustan spirits. These arguments are spoken in movies and in real lives. In reality most of them keep a taste of their great civilization.
Will Indian American factors change American politics? British prime minister is already Indian British. We may be seeing an unprecedented movement in American history.