Preparing the Ground

From the four corners of the property echoed the sounds of the instruments – large densho, small densho, keisu, han – as the teachers processed to each location offering incense in our groundbreaking ceremony, held Sunday, July 29, at the site of our new temple, 1856 S. Columbine.

The sky was hazy at first, provided some much-appreciated shade for the fifty or so participants, which included long-time members, newer members, and many family, friends and curious neighbors. The occasion was marked by a quiet joy, from tasks coming to completion and the pleasure of envisioning the temple-to-be, its outline marked with chalk on the grass and bare earth.

On tables beneath a canopy we offered materials created for the event, including enlarged renderings of the building, an updated fundraising brochure, and new ZCD T-shirts with the message, “I’d rather be… here!”

Peggy Metta Sheehan led the ceremony, adapted from the groundbreaking ceremony for Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, Oregon:

Today we enter into this this piece of land both physically and spiritually. We declare our wish and intention to establish on this ground a temple: a seat for the Buddha, a treasury of Dharma, and a home for the Sangha. We ask that the spirits of the land and all the creatures that live here receive and welcome us, and we pledge to do our best to live in harmony with them.

We ask all the buddhas and ancestors to recognize and trust our true purpose and support this undertaking. May we be free from difficulties, keep our minds pure and our hearts aligned with our intentions. Please forgive us for disturbing this land as we begin construction and help us see the project through to a healthy and harmonious conclusion. May we be good neighbors and try to be of service to the people who live near us. May the practitioners who enter this land and this temple will be earnest in their pursuit of the truth, mindful in their work, and compassionate to all living beings.

Following the ceremony we enjoyed a potluck lunch and quiet conversation, making some new acquaintances and renewing many old ones, a continuation of the decades of community that have led us to this celebratory occasion.

 

 

Written by joeltagert

Writer, artist and longtime Zen practitioner.

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