On a winter morning in 1360, Zen master Kozan Ichikyo composed this death poem:
Empty-handed I entered the world
As as I am sitting here, on a cold winter morning in 2017, listening to the gentle music of the wind-chimes, the clear blue sky and the sunshine reassuring me that the days are indeed getting longer from now on - I keep wondering, in awe and joy:
What is this?
A lot happened at Furnace Mountain this past year:
As always we hosted our Zen retreats - sharing the practice with old and new friends.
In addition to those, we had a very inspiring Kido chanting retreat in early March.
In September we celebrated Zen Master Dae Gak’s 70th birthday, with friends and family gathered to honor his life and his service to the world.
And finally, in October we held our month long retreat into Great Silence… giving the mountain a major make-up beforehand, repairing and replacing what needed repairing and replacing.
During the retreat we were blessed with having a skilled acupuncturist supporting those who had committed to sit the entire month.
Thank you, Wendy Middleton Bentley from Natural Bridge Acupuncture!
Just recently we started to look into permaculture as a way for Furnace Mountain to become more sustainable and to be a more responsible member of earth community.
We partnered with Timothy Kercheville and Michael Beck for this project, two very knowledgeable permaculturists and farmers.
We welcomed two new teachers into the Furnace Mountain Sangha, Margie Tae Ja Do Osler from South Africa and Phil Dae Mae Hartman from Hawai.
Throughout the year we had several young people who received scholarships, doing work-study-exchange and helping us prepare for retreat. Planting seeds for the future....
Talking about planting: We harvested our first pears and many, many figs this year, and also, from our raised beds vegetables and copious amounts of herbs for our retreat meals.
And because of Hae Wol Osho's and Suz Croutwater's tireless efforts we had an ocean of flowers gracing the temple this year.
So many little wonders…..
... and those little miracles all seem to have just happened a moment ago, yet here we are, ready to say goodbye to 2017 and to welcome 2018!
We count “time” in human dimensions, yet we know, from having sat in the circle of friends that all this beautiful unfolding is timeless – dynamic stillness manifesting itself in myriad forms, myriad encounters, myriad joys and sorrows, myriad comings and goings, myriad births and deaths.
The world we live in seems to be more on fire than it was a year ago.
Where are we headed, what will the future bring?
We don’t know.
But we know, in our heart of hearts, that we are it:
The unfolding itself, birth and death – two simple happenings that got entangled - this unfathomable life with no beginning and no end….
That which brought about this mysterious entanglement is singing, right through us, as us…
New Years Poem for 2018
For another year we have been blessed with your precious friendship, with your steadfast support, with your care for us and for Furnace Mountain, with your financial contributions, and with the joy of walking this path together.
We are so grateful for it all!
With deep bows for your dedicated practice and continued support of Furnace Mountain, we wish you Happy holidays and a blessed year 2018!
May all beings benefit.