From the Mud, a Temple Blooms

Wow! After years of working and waiting, suddenly a temple springs from the muddy ground like an eager spring flower. This morning, with tremendous excitement, our members for the first time walked through the ground floor of our new practice center on Columbine. We found it even more than we had imagined – spacious, meticulously considered and perfectly constructed for our practice needs and community. From the wide-open zendo to the cozy dokusan rooms, the building promises to be a Zen refuge like few others, our lasting home.

As it happens, this follows on our largest-ever introductory seminar, with dozens of people learning how to meditate for the first time. What an auspicious time for a new start!

Laying the Foundations

 

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At long last, we’ve begun construction in earnest! In fact we broke ground (not just ceremonially) some weeks ago, and construction crews have been busy excavating and laying the foundation. Barring any further delays, we expect to open our doors sometime in fall 2019. The end (and a new beginning) is in sight!

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 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 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.