Buddha’s Birthday on the Horizon

Spring is here, trees are flowering, and in just two weeks we’ll have our celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday. Everyone is welcome, young, old, frisky, decrepit, human or non-biting pet, Center member or not. If you’d like to help out in the days leading up to, or during, our set-up and take-down, we’ll be able to use extra hands. Give us a call or email John Pulleyn (john@rzc.org).

Temple Night

The weekend kicks off Friday evening, May 25, with our semi-annual Temple Night and Taking of the Precepts. If you have a figure of a Buddha or bodhisattva at home that you’d like to place on the main altar to steep in the charged atmosphere, bring it in.

Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday we have the Baby Buddha Ceremony, stories from the Sleeping Sage, an elephant parade, a vegetarian potluck picnic, Buddha’s birthday cupcakes, and a laid-back edition of the Buddha Bazaar during the lazy afternoon.

The annual meeting will be held on Sunday morning at 9:30. If you’d like to join others in the zendo beforehand, feel free (as always) to do that. No need to wear a robe unless you’re an out-of-town member going to dokusan that morning.

The full schedule is posted here. Give us a call if you have questions.

Annual Meeting

The Center’s Annual Corporate Meeting of members will be held during Buddha’s Birthday weekend. We’ll review the Center’s financial and spiritual affairs and count ballots for the annual Trustee election. Those Trustees and Officers who are able to attend will be available to answer questions. All Sangha members are welcome at the meeting, which will happen in the Buddha Hall on Sunday morning, May 27, at 9:30. The Trustee Nominating Committee has nominated Betsy Friedman, who has served one term as a Trustee and is eligible to run again, and Elizabeth Machmer to run this year. Ballots and a brief biographical note for each of the two candidates have been sent to everyone who was a Center member as of the May 6 record date for the election. Please mail your postcard ballot to the Center or bring it to the meeting; ballots won’t be available at the meeting itself. Your vote does count: Past elections have been decided by a handful of votes, and one by a coin-toss after a tie vote.

Chapin Mill News from Wayman Kubicka

As you can see in this picture, the last strong windstorm here blew down a large tree, the top of which hit the Retreat Center’s Kannon Room. Fortunately, there was no structural damage to the building, but we will have to repair a small area of roofing above the Kannon Room.

The offending wind was very strong and gusty, and broke the tree in quite an unusual way, as you can see from the picture. The tree was a pignut hickory, we learned from Sangha member Scott Redding, a professional arborist who has donated his expertise and many weeks of his time to the selective harvest of mature trees on our Chapin Mill property. Scott actually did cut a couple of large and completely mature black cherry trees – very near to the pignut hickory – that he judged to be a risk to our building. But no one could guess that the hickory would split in the way that it did. Additionally, it all amounts to nothing compared to the time about ten years ago, when we had no forestry guidance, and a 55-inch diameter oak tree fell on, and destroyed, the Retreat Center’s kitchen porch. (Fortunately, the Center’s insurance covered the substantial cost of reconstruction.)

Regarding the harvesting of mature hardwoods on our property, the Zen Center ended up receiving some $30,000 after Scott’s assistant was paid and other costs had been covered.

A harvest of that size might sound alarming to some members, but because of Scott’s very knowledgeable judgment about what to take and what to leave, there is no obvious change to the general look of our forests. And except for the very low-cut stumps, it’s hard even to guess where the trees had been. Most important, selective harvesting of mature trees, when done properly, actually promotes the long-term health of a forest.