Hope you enjoy the following snaps! I'll start here with just a sampling. I took several hundred shots and will be uploading about 25% of them, little by little. To see all the currently oploaded pictures, click on "LÆS MERE"!
I've been reading alot of accounts of how Buddhist temples, monasteries and places of practice are established.
And I can see - in most of the stories - that it is the sangha that gets it all together.
I've been conflicted for the longest time about how Egely should be established. And now I finally see that it must be through our mutual efforts of practice, of dana, of sila. Then this place will flourish from the combined energies of us all and be open to more energy. Flowing, nothing forced.
Earlier, I had figured on "if you build it, they will come". So, I have driven myself crazy about fund-raising strategies, our half impoverished state, etc. I have considered the commercial uses of meditation, the secularization of Buddhist practices in order to accrue building funds; I have been envious of those meditation teachers who exploit the practice for simply commercial gain, even though they ARE selling something they really believe in the value of (knowing that the world can be changed).
Today, I feel liberated from this self-inflicted burden. I will not single-handedly build the monastery, I will not single-handedly fund this project. Please, those of you who need to have a place to come to practice Zen, those of you, who need a teacher - Come! Build! Stay! Help realize the potentials of these walls, this earth, of (and for) us all!
And I - with all my heart - once again am thankful for the work of all of you that have been here and done the renovations, the building, the planting, the weeding, the giving. I hope you know that Egely is yours and I hope that you will return!
I've been reading about teachers. About the recent hisory of Buddhism in the West. About Europeans and Americans who travelled to Japan and India to find a practice and a teacher. About the challenges ethnic Buddhist teachers have when their pupils are from the West, especially when they themselves move to the West. And about the challenges Western teachers have introducing Dharma, apparently flavored by its Eastern roots, to their own cultures.
One thing is very striking: all these stories I have read about those who are searching for a practice illustrate individuals who have expectations. Expectations to themselves and the practice, certainly --- but most especially: expectations regarding their teachers. I've seen it here at the monastery, too. An expectation that the teacher is "perfect" or somehow, that because he/she has woken up to Buddha's way and is "enlightened," that no mistakes can be made, that everything is totally clear. And, after all, "perfect" is based on our own judgements and ideas --- there is no perfect! And our teachers have their own karmas, our teachers continuously examine their lives.
What also is striking is how Western students seem to disregard the fact that a teacher or master is in the direct line of buddhas. That they actually actualize this with every breath. While challenging a teacher, which of course there is precedence for, some students approach their teachers without humility, without having given themselves to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They argue and disagree with the teacher on the basis of intellectual concepts and ideas, without examining these in true practice and attach egoistic tags to non-egoistic practices of compassion, wisdom, meditation.