Wait… is that a river in the zendo? An update on our Temple Treasure

Every dewdrop manifested in every realm is a dream. This dream is the glowing clarity of the hundred grasses. What requires questioning is this very point. What is confusing is this very point. At this time, there are dream grasses, grasses within, expressive grasses, and so on. When we study this, then roots, stems, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, as well as radiance and color are all the great dream. Do not mistake them as merely dreamy. 

-Dogen Zenji (Muchu Setsumu)

Our recent Genzo-e sesshin with visiting teacher Kokyo Henkel on Dogen Zenji’s fascicle Expressing a Dream Within A Dream (Muchu Setsumu) was our first time holding sesshin both in-person (from the AZC Zendo) as well as online. Twenty six of us participated – sitting, studying, and illuminating together over the course of 5 days of  wondrous teachings. 

Sangha member Sondra Caple recounts her experience: “It really hit home to me, that awareness is always present. I hadn’t really thought about awareness being present, even when the mind is dull, distracted, sleepy, as well as clear and sharp. Awareness is always right here, in this moment.”

Then, in the midst of the 4th day of the retreat, something entered our awareness that was rather unexpected. From AZC Ino Bruce Smith: 

“It started in late afternoon.

“Following a period of kinhin, Jess pointed out a mysterious wet spot on the zendo floor. In the ensuing hours, that mystery yielded to other, more ominous ones: why is water dripping from the ceiling vent…why is it now dripping from both vents…why is it dripping from the light fixture??
“Not surprising — but encouraging to this Ino and temple resident — was the response of the few in-person retreatants. Buckets and towels were gathered, the air-conditioning was turned off, Mako was consulted and, using a ladder, Shoho rigged up a set of cloths to absorb and channel the densest portion of what was now a veritable waterfall into the biggest of our buckets. 
“After opening the zendo at 6:00 the following morning, we gathered the essentials and reassembled in the classroom, where we continued the last day of the retreat without further disruption (mostly).”
Former board president Ernest and current board president Shu both crawled into the attic space during the final Genzo-e class to find that the new AC had not been endowed with a float-valve shut-off mechanism, and the drip pan had been overflowing for many hours, seeping through the library closet and through the zendo ceiling.
In the week since the retreat, our administrator Maida Barbour has been working diligently, coordinating contractors, insurance agencies, and sangha members to all come together to help fix this issue. The air conditioning unit is fixed for now and the temple is drying, but the damage the ceiling and walls sustained is significant. Stay tuned for more updates as things continue to unfold. 
“On one level, this certainly was a nightmare within a dream. At the same time, the resilience and resourcefulness, the patience and persistence of this practice transformed it into yet another dharma gate, sangha coming together to investigate and adapt to a crazy moment.”  – Bruce Smith, Ino