Tuyết Sơn Thiền Tự
Mt Adams Zen Buddhist Temple
Well our presidential election has come and gone and we have a new president elect. Let us offer merit and our prayers for him to guide us wisely and with good strong moral leadership. May he help us preserve our liberty, freedom, our country and our ecology. May he take good care of the poor, the young, the elderly, and the infirm. Whatever our preference for president, let us accept the will of the people and hope for the very best.
May we all be well and happy. May we all know love and peace.
May all who celebrate a holiday this season find peace and happiness in their practice.
We have a new format for our newsletter, please let me know if there are any problems with it.
I have had my right knee replaced and am recovering. It has been a time of good practice to deal with pain and discomfort, illness and healing. Our historical teacher tells us that I am of the nature to grow old, to have ill health and to die, my actions are my only true belongings.
Why Do Retreats Matter...
Niaka Kaizen / Valerie Grigg Devis
As humans, we are definitely "creatures of habit". This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing. If we cultivate healthy habits, make effective use of our time, and develop our practice on a daily basis - then our routines can serve and support us.
However, we live at a time of multi-media distraction, chronic over-work and perpetual "busy-ness". This makes it very important take the time to step outside of our routines and give deeper reflection to our practice. We need to ask ourselves on a regular basis: How is our Life doing, Really?
We can certainly do this at any place or time - however, it can be highly beneficial to step outside our regular surroundings, and attend a retreat at least once a year or more, if we possibly can.
The Buddha was known to withdraw regularly from large crowds of followers and seek out places of quiet reflection. At times, he would simply pause along the road he traveled and reflect on the beauty around him: golden rice fields or a quiet grove of trees. In addition, the Buddha, his monks, nuns and followers observed an annual "retreat season" of several months which was spent at one of over a dozen retreats throughout northern India.
Among these retreat centers, the Buddha had a favorite, known as "Vulture Peak". The king of that region had prepared the grounds, including stone steps up the mountainside all the way to the Buddha's stone hut, with many small bridges over tumbling waterfalls and springs. Near the hut was a clear stream where he washed his robes and a rock as large as several houses where he dried them out! His senior disciples had huts nearby as well. The view from the Buddha's hut was magnificent and he especially enjoyed watching the sunsets.
(From Chapter 52 of Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha - by Thich Nhat Hanh.)
On a typical retreat, doing the laundry is not on the top of my list of expectations! However, we do have much common ground with the original retreats of the Buddha and his followers, including:
- A time of quiet reflection and stillness;
- Returning to (or finding) what matters: Giving full attention to our sense of purpose, focus and intention;
- Sharing simple tasks of self-care and mutual support, such as cooking and cleaning;
- The opportunity for learning, inspiration, encouragement - and even challenging our practice in new ways;and
- A place to celebrate and share joy with the other members of the Sangha and the larger Buddhist Community
Some of the reasons I enjoy retreats at the Mt. Adams Buddhist Temple in particular are because it (1) honors & reflects multiple traditions, while remaining open to many forms of practice; (2) encourages those who are new to practice, as well as those with many years of experience, and (3) offers a supportive atmosphere in a place of great natural beauty - something like what Vulture Peak must have been like.
As the New Year 2017 approaches, I encourage you to make a commitment to either personal or group retreats for the coming year!
"Your work is to discover your work -- and then, with your whole heart -- give yourself to it." - Buddha
Thich Minh Thien's Column
The First Mindfulness Training - Reverence for Life
In November's newsletter, I mentioned how I had come across an article from Venerable Thich Nhat Hahn, discussing the Five Mindfulness Trainings. These trainings are a very practical modern day formulation of ancient teachings from Buddhism. Indeed, one way to view them is that they can help us realize our goodness and bring this goodness more into the world. Keep in mind that these are mindfulness trainings and not mindfulness commandments. The idea is to move toward the training and to practice them as an ongoing process; not something to be perfectly achieved. The practice of these trainings is for everyone to enjoy.
The first one I was drawn to was labeled number 4 which was, "Loving Speech and Deep Listening". This month puts the Mindfulness Trainings back in the order in which they appeared in the article and so number 1 is entitled, "Reverence for Life". Thich Nhat Hahn describes it this way: "Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of inter-being and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life".
This training is based on the First Precept; namely, abstain from taking life and it is linked to the Noble Eightfold Path through Right Action. To act "rightly" in Buddhism is to act without selfish attachment to our work in perfecting the attributes of all the elements in the Eightfold Noble Path. Therefore, Right Action springs from selfless compassion. This mindfulness training encourages the cultivation of openness, non-discrimination and nonattachment to views. It directly invites us to increase our kindness/compassion strengths to a level that moves the focus from oneself to a focus on all living beings. The strength of fairness seems to be an underlying principle for this training.
Life and limb are precious to every living being and nobody has the right to destroy the life of another for any reason. We do know however, that mankind has found justification for the taking of human life. This justification of non-reverence for life takes on many rationalized reasons like human rights, religion, peace, nationalism, race, culture, population control etc. and accepted by many as necessary for the continuation of a structured society and propagation of morality and ethics. There are of course, individual human failings like hatred, greed, fear, jealousy, power and ignorance that pollute the mind and numb compassion which in turn, draws one away from the principle of reverence for life. This does not even begin to address the cruelty mankind enacts on living creatures deemed lower life forms and food sources. "Reverence for Life" also extends to our planet and how we choose to live. If the patterns of living are wasteful and/or damaging to the environment, the level of compassion and mindfulness dwindles as unsafe and unmindful practices coupled with selfishness and avarice become the standard.
Our "Reverence for Life" begins with the understanding that everything is interconnected. Our model in Buddhism is Avelokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion. Living mindfully within the elements of the Noble Eightfold Path moves one deeper into reducing suffering for all sentient beings in the world and towards the highest "Reverence for Life". As the holiday seasons are here and the new year is quickly approaching, let us all recommit to deepening our compassion for all sentient beings and our planet and thus, reducing suffering in the world.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Help Us Build A Temple
WE ARE BUILDING A TEMPLE
and we need your help
We have started on our plans to build a temple on our 23 acre farm. Our temple proposal has been approved for up to 4000 sq. ft by the Klickitat Planning Commission, now all we need is the money to start building. Please help us by donating to our building fund.
1. Donate directly to the temple (Mt Adams Zen Buddhist Temple PO Box 487, Trout Lake WA 98650
3. Buy on Amazon at
Whenever you order from Amazon.com use this link and your regular passwords and the temple will receive a small amount of the purchase price.
We are a 501(c) 3 organization and donations to the temple may be tax deductible.
We've been here for 8 years. Our retreat area is complete, our gardens are complete, now is the time to start on building a temple. We have been approved for a 4000 square foot structure by the county and we want to raise $275,000 to build a Dharma Hall. This will be one of the very few Buddhist Temples in our county.
Neijing Classical Acupuncture class taught by Dr. Ed Neal MD was held here Oct 20th - Oct 25th. You can read an article about this type of practice at https://www.edwardnealmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/JCM-Article-2.pdf. Dr. Neal is the director of the Xinglin Institute for East Asian Medical ResearchYou can read more about Dr Ed Neal at https://www.edwardnealmd.com/
A family of 3 generations visited our temple over the Thanksgiving Day Holiday. They were brought here by a dear monk friend from Chùa Ngọc Sơn (Portland Buddhist temple). The Chùa Ngọc Sơn temple is a Khất Sĩ denomination.
The founding patriarch of the khất sĩ tradition was
Thích Minh Đăng Quang
, who was born Nguyễn Thành Đạt in 1923 to a peasant family from the village of Phú Hậu, Bình Phú prefecture,
Tam Bình District
Vĩnh Long Province
. He founded the tradition in 1944 with the vow "Nối truyền Thích-ca chánh pháp Đạo Phật Khất sĩ Việt Nam"
All Buddhists, Christians, Moslems, Jews, Pagans Hindus, Jains, and all beings are our brothers and sisters. It is a joy to share with our Khất Sĩ brothers and sisters.
Joann And Duke Olmstead
Trout lake residents who leave here each fall to enjoy their winters in Arizona. They became Buddhist by taking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sanga this last year and attend services at Mt Adams Zen Buddhist Temple regularly.
We'll miss them this winter in Trout Lake but hope to visit their Arizona home when Kozen goes to visit a federal prison in Tucson in February.
Thay Kozen had his right knee replaced with a new Titanium one. He had so many visitors while he was in the hospital in Hood River. Pictured here are Su Co Hue Huong, from Buu Hung Monastery in Vancouver WA and some temple members. In the background Thay Z (Thich Minh Thien) and Dave Martin Acupuncturist are also visiting.
The Mamma Bears in Hood River pre-prepared many vegetarian meals and froze them so that Thay Kozen would have quick and ready food during his recovery. Thank you
8 Bodhi Day - meditation 12/7 at 11:30pm to 12:30am 12/8
Please Register +
17 Winter Solstice - Druid Event
30 Midnight Meditation - 12/30 at 11:30pm to 12:30am 1/1 Please Register +
Private retreats only
Kozen to Arizona to teach at a Federal Prison in Tucson
Mt Adams Zen Buddhist Temple 46 Stoller Rd., Trout Lake WA 98650 509.395.2030