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Thread: Treeleaf Global Service Days: July 6-20 2013

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  1. #1
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Treeleaf Global Service Days: July 6-20 2013

    Greetings all!

    I hope you are having a marvelous summer season - Treeleaf Global Service Days are upon us again - from July 6-20. I'm really looking forward to sharing our activities and experiences from our engaged service work this time around. I am including Jundo's description of the Global Service concept below, for those who are not familiar with it. I will be writing shortly with a project of my own that I hope to launch in July, so stay tuned!

    And now, to give Jundo center stage:
    ______________________________________

    I think we should give a little more detail, especially for new folks ...

    --- We ask everyone to undertake a project where they are actually out helping "hands on" folks in need, not merely writing a check (although you can do so in addition). So, if there is some physical activity in your town or community you can undertake that day ... from planting a garden in an abandoned field, to working in a soup kitchen, to visiting the elderly at an old age home, to running a race for cancer prevention ... please do so. HANDS ON, and the dirtier the better!

    --- For folks with physical restrictions due to disability or age, there have even been many ideas in the past that folks can do right from home or online. Please check our previous Days of Service for project ideas.

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forum...Global-Service

    --- For our busy fathers and mothers, this can be turned into a family activity ... bring the kids and make it a memorable day and a time of sharing, learning some important lessons.

    --- For folks who are already volunteering in their communities, it is fine to include and re-dedicate that existing activity to out Global Day of Service if you do not have time to take on an additional activity.

    --- We ask all our members to work for the benefit of other Sentient Beings, in a spirit of giving. It is not about you or us.

    --- We encourage everyone to discuss their projects in this thread as a way to "share ideas for projects", inspire others and build a sense that we are doing this as a community. So, we encourage you to discuss what you are doing. However, (1) even if you write here about your projects, remember that it is not "about us" or taking any credit, or (2) if you truly wish to remain semi-anonymous, feel free to send an email to Jundo and I will repost it here without using your name (you can even send an anonymous email if you wish! ). So, please post here your ideas and plans for projects, and stories about "how it went", so that we can all share as a Sangha in the experience.

    --- We do have a blog where we collect these projects designed by Kyonin (what is the link?), where we may repost some of these stories in order to inspire others, but only after removing most names.

    One final word ...

    I do not collect donations for being part of Treeleaf because THIS is the donation! (What, you thought Treeleaf was free? It is freeing ... but not free!). I cannot say in stronger terms how much we all hope, depend on and expect everyone who is partaking of this community ... from our newest folks to our old hands and priests ... to join in this effort. It is really not optional, for it is our Practice here ... as much as sitting Zazen or any chanted words to save the "Sentient Beings". It is expected of those who wish to be part of and partake of this Treeleaf community, our request that you give back for what you receive in this way, the bill for any benefit received. EVERYONE is expected to participate in some way (and there is a way for all of us to do so).

    THIS is ZAZEN TOO!

    _____________________________
    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  2. #2
    Thank you, Yugen. I think it is good to be of service all year round but having a specific period is a good way to concentrate the mind.

    I am one of the physically limited folk and my usual service tends to consist of things like writing letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience and to a young girl we sponsor in Burkina Faso. Will have a peek at other ideas for the less active among us and welcome any suggestions. Another thing I did once was to have a 30 day gratitude project on a social media site and invited anyone to join in. This seemed to have a good effect on all involved. I wish I had the energy to contribute more to the local community but such is life just now.

    Look forward to hearing about the other projects that are going to be happening this year.

    Gassho
    Andy

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Dear Treeleafers:

    I wanted to share with you the launch of a project that has been in the brainstorm and planning phase for some time – and now it is time to put into motion.

    One of the most formative and profound influences in my Zen practice and training the last two years has been Dogen’s Mountain and Waters Sutra in the Shobogenzo. The outdoors have always been a very large presence in my life – I have never fully realized how essential being close to the ocean, mountains, and trees is in terms of my own existence. As my practice and commitment deepen, I have attempted to create a service project that would embrace not only my love and gratitude for these surroundings, but my recognition that the well-being of the Maine coastline and our environment as well as my own existence are inextricably bound. It is no surprise to any of us that many changes – climactic – economic – demographic – hydrographic and geographic – are occurring.

    I have decided that I would like to kayak to each of the islands on the Maine Island Trail. As there are almost 200 islands, this project will take a number of years. I plan to spend several hours on each island, in the case of remote or offshore islands I will bivouac overnight. I will sit Zazen on each island and record a visual and written journal entry for each visit. Gary Lawless of Gulf of Maine books has suggested I write a Haiku for each visit, and tuck the verse in the nook of a tree, or under a stone. In the course of this journey I hope to record observations of change, climate, Zen practice, and the cycles of change that come to the ocean and coastal ecosystem. Perhaps not least of all, the changes that come to us as individuals.

    In China and Japan, monks used to travel from monastery to monastery, and teacher to teacher, on foot, as part of their training. Hanshan retreated to the mountains, as did Dogen. I view my exploration as a continuation of this tradition. The islands will be my monasteries, the ocean and trees will be my teachers.

    There are at least two practical activities that are already part of, or will be part of this effort. I am sure more will emerge as the effort is underway. With your help, I am sure we will think of others.

    I am already engaged in coastal/island shoreline cleanup activities hosted by the Maine Island Trail Association and other local organizations. I bring my sons on me for these efforts – they are an excellent way to introduce the idea of service in a coastal community, and also the notion of closeness, indeed, no separation between ourselves and the surrounding environment. The Mountain and Waters Sutra helped me to realize what I had always felt but never understood on an existential level: that all entities interpenetrate one another – and lead us to attunement to and engagement with the world. Since all enitities interpenetrate one another, the distinction between nirvana and samsara ultimately disappears. Things just “are” in their phenomenal existence, in the present, with nothing to add or take away. The majesty of pine trees clinging to an island coastline, an ocean storm blowing in – there is nothing more and nothing less.

    Secondly, over time I plan to lead groups of young adults to some of the more easily accessible islands. When I was affiliated with a university community, I used to lead groups of at-risk youth on orienteering trips. The transformation in the behavior and attitude of young people when time is spent in the outdoors, and the world of street violence and precarious existence is left behind is remarkable. I would like to share what I have discovered.

    I will be launching a blog shortly (Kyonin has graciously offered to help with this), and plan my first voyage in the month of July. In the meantime, here is a link to some information about the Maine Island Trail.

    http://www.mita.org/about

    Please feel free to suggest ideas for this practice. Any Treeleafers who want to join for segments of this exploration are welcome.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 06-27-2013 at 07:57 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    I will be launching a blog shortly (Kyonin has graciously offered to help with this
    Of course I'll help!!

    Thank you for letting me be part of your adventure.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Great pic, thanks for sharing. Sounds like a wonderful experience.
    gassho,
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Kyonin, thank you so much for this! I was thinking the other day about things I do that could be considered service, and at the same time not wanting to post too much - I guess the point is that service and fellowship begin to fit seamlessly into our days and actions, where we don't have to talk about them anymore. There is a fellow at the supermarket in his 70s who bags groceries and corrals the carts in the parking lot - he has been around the block a few times. I make a point of stopping and speaking with him and complimenting him on his work. I commended him to the manager the other day - I really meant it. I hope I have his work ethic and attitude when I am in my 70s. He had shared with me that they were cutting his hours back since business had slowed down, and it would affect his food budget (he depends on this income to buy food). I also noticed the management are "churning" younger employees at lower hourly salaries and letting them go, or just reducing their hours after several months of service so they continually pay minimum wage salaries. My friend here, who has worked at this market 20 hours a week steadily for years, was looking at a reduction to ten-twelve hours. Interesting - after I complimented him to the manager (I told him he had a great work ethic, was great with customers, and motivated kids a quarter his age)..... This was about ten days ago. Yesterday, my friend told me that his hours will not be reduced. He was relieved. The world works in interesting ways. We greet one another in the parking lot by the shopping cart corral like long lost friends now.

    I'm not claiming credit for this outcome - there are probably many others factors that influenced management's decision (correlation but not causation as they say) - but acts of caring and fellowship bear fruit or bring comfort in ways we cannot often predict or foresee.

    Pass it forward, every day. Thank you all for helping me to live like a human being.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-16-2013 at 04:19 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  7. #7
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Yugen, my mother is from a small town called Sanford, Maine. I was born across the state line in Dover, New Hampshire. For three years in my early teens, I lived in Limestone, Maine, in the extreme northeast corner of the state. You have a beautiful canvas upon which to paint your project.

    Gassho,
    William

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    William.
    I lived in Kennebunkport for sixteen years - used to eat breakfast at the Cockpit Cafe at the Sanford Airport all the time! That's awesome! If you are visiting Maine join me for a leg of the voyage....!

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  9. #9
    Hi everyone,

    Here are my plans for Global Service Days:

    This summer I will continue on my pilgrimage of 2600 km, alone on a bicycle from my home town to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, also known as the Camino. Across, Holland, Belgium, France , over the Pyrenean mountains into Spain and then across Spain to the most western tip called Finisterra ( the end of the world). It is my dream to sit Zazen on the rocks of the “end of the world” some day.

    Along the way, a pilgrim is supposed to get a stamp at predefined religious sites along the way to prove the route followed when arriving at Compostella. Although it is a Catholic tradition dating back to 1100 AD, today people take the challenge for many different reasons. Up till now, I did 600 Km and will continue the journey for at least 500 km. Along the way, I will sit at each landmark and look out for at least one person to help with whatever comes on my path. Like Yugen, it will take a lot more then the Global Service Days period but that is OK. And I will do the garden of my sick neighbor, who suffers from rheumatism at the age of 39.

    Deep bows,

    Enkyo

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I like that Enkyo - and meet whatever and whomever comes your way! Is there a map of your route you can update and share with us?

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  11. #11
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Wow: you guys are very ambitious. I am trying to finalize plans right now to teach yoga twice a week for six weeks to teens and pre-teens at a local community center. These are kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and neighborhoods with a history of gang activity. Although, the classes will not be overtly spiritual, I want to teach kids to connect to their breath and to the quiet place inside themselves, so that they can use those tools to (hopefully) avoid violence.

    Gassho,
    William

  12. #12
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Enkyo - what a lovely idea. I'm envious of you! :-) Be safe on your journey. Are you going to take photos along the way?
    Gassho,
    Matt

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    And I was here about to ask about the GDS.

    So glad we are about to start!

    My projects so far are:

    -Creating a local sitting group
    -Creating an online sitting group
    -Keep on hosting websites for nonprofits and bloggers in exile (so far I host 12 sites)
    -Teaching English to a new kid who needs it
    -Cleaning up the park I run every morning

    Lets see how it all goes.

    Thanks Yugen!

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Last edited by Kyonin; 06-27-2013 at 08:51 PM.
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    William wrote: "Wow: you guys are very ambitious."

    It is not my intention to propose a project or undertaking to intimidate or minimize the efforts of others - We each do what we can - my efforts in Global Service Days have involved taking jars of spaghetti sauce to the food bank with my nine-year-old son (something we still do). Engaged Service, like beautiful large shade trees, grows from initial efforts. We do what we can with the time and inclination we have. This project represents the assembly of pieces of my life over the years which Zen practice and ordination have brought together - for me, service and presence in the world has become something that I aspire to every day, not just in a fixed two-week period every few months. It also represents a major restructuring of my life (along with ordination) to reflect a commitment to environmental and social advocacy. I know there are many Treeleafers who give of time, energy, and love without ever posting here or drawing attention to themselves. In my own case, the magnitude of my project reflects my commitment to return what I have been given as well as the magnitude of selfishness with which I lived for many years. This is a labor of love and commitment - I am very excited to see the ideas and efforts of all my fellow treeleafers. There is no large or small - only intention, effort and action.

    It is my hope that from acorns tall oaks will grow- as we introduce service to others in our lives soon the two will be indistinguishable. At least for me in years past, the gap between the two was a yawning chasm. I have much to learn from all of you.

    With deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 06-27-2013 at 08:51 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  15. #15
    Hi guys,

    Yeah, sure. Let me find a digital map that gives an idea fo the route. Also there are some pictures I made allong the first part. Let me find them for you and I'll post them as soon as possible, OK?

    To be honest I was also thinking of doing Takuhatsu allong the way, but have to check with Taigu first about that. Also, begging rules vary from place to place. Because I have a Pelgrim passport ( official document by the society of St. Jaques) that can be shown to the authorities proving I'm not just some bum, I could get away with begging, if I wear a sign that all money goes to charity. It needs some more study, thats for sure.

    Let me get back with that map ans some pictures.

    Gassho

    Enkyo

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I don't know what to do this time. I'll be in an unfamiliar country minding the kids for six weeks while my wife earns some money working as a translator. Will have to give this some thought ... although your example is inspiring everybody. I'll report back.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
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    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  17. #17
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I probably will be cleaning up trash. I noticed that there is a lot of it in a specific area of my neighborhood. Planting a garden sounds fun, too...
    迎 Geika

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    This is just a wonderful activity and inspiring group of people. We do what we can, and as Dosho's son teaches us, the wonderful thing is that these activities become part of our everyday lives, and not just something we do every couple of months.

    My updates:

    1) Maine Island Trail project:
    I have gone out on two journeys thus far. The first was to Jewell Island, in the center of Casco Bay. The second trip, last Sunday, was to the Cuckolds and Damariscove. The Cuckolds are "on" the Trail, Damariscove is not. I sat zazen and chanted the Heart Sutra on each island. I have written notes, which I'd like to post to a blog soon. Stay tuned. The island cleanup season starts in August. I will be doing these day trips with my son.
    2) I visit several elderly shut-ins, or in Maine, "hermits" - these are older men who either choose not to circulate or are limited due to health and mobility concerns. They are retired fishermen/lobstermen who live on the ocean and stare at the sea every day. They have amazing stories to share and are grateful for the companionship
    3) I am spending time focusing on and engaging with hourly and salaried employees (cashiers, servers, store clerks, etc.) in a very basic way - making eye contact, expressing gratitude for their work and commitment, and in general honoring the dignity and hard work that accompanies jobs that often do not attract much respect from employers or customers.

    Finally, I am trying very hard to be much less of an asshole and spare people my drama. Part of self-awareness I believe is learning how not to inflict myself on others with impatience, self importance, and irritability. Sparing the world my issues and realizing I am not that important is a public service endeavor in itself!

    Note to self: don't forget to smile.

    Thank you all for your commitment.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-24-2013 at 03:51 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  19. #19
    Thank you Yugen ... I will be putting on the thinking cap for these Global Service Days. I will keep you posted ...

    Gassho
    Shingen



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  20. #20
    I guess my projects are on going so much so that I don't consider them projects and more a way of life.

    The main project is to try to encourage zazen groups in my part of Wales where there are none. I have been able to get together a small group of students and others at the University in which I work, but this only happens in term time and also it isn't that local as my work is 30 miles away from my home. I live in small village in quite a rural area and as such the is no central place where I could hire or borrow to use for a group. So the project is to build a small (I emphasise small) Zendo in a field on the small holding in which I live. I hope then to encourage its use by the local community and others, and perhaps to run small retreats in the future.

    To finance this I bake bread for the community shop in the village. As I say it is a community shop run for volunteers for the village whose population which has quite a high percentage of elderly people. who can't easily get to the main shops some miles away. I bake the bread on most Saturdays getting up very early sitting with Treeleaf Zazenkai and then baking the bread appropriately from recipes from the Tassajara Bread Book (Tassajara for those who don't know is a Zen monastery set up by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and the book is written by a priest in this lineage).

    I charge the community shop only for the ingredients used for the bread making no profit from it, then I put the money towards building the Zendo - better than saving I think. The amount of bread I bake is. not large so raising the money could take some time about 2/3 years. A secondary project I hope to come out of this is that there will be enough money also to allow me, after Shukke Tokudo in 2014, to attend an Ango somewhere run on traditional lines, perhaps in France, Japan or even America.

    I am not sure if this project fits Global Service Dash criteria.

    Gassho

    David

  21. #21
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I wanted to let you all know that my friend Tony, with whom I spent many hours drinking coffee, laughing, crying, drinking espresso and listening to stories of the sea, succumbed to ALS in the VA hospital in Togus, Maine recently. His wake and funeral were this last Saturday. When we write of our service projects, it is hard not to think of outcomes, goals, or improvements that we hope result form our contribution of time and effort. Maybe sometimes no matter what we do, there is not a happy ending. Sometimes people die. But in the time we spent together, we got to know one another, both our lives were enriched, and I was privileged to know a fine human being who was fiercely loyal to his family and friends, and whose life story was woven of the same fabric of human emotions we all share. This fabric gave his life texture and richness. My own practice on the coast of Maine, close to a seafaring community, has led me to see increasingly that fishermen/lobstermen are living out Zen practice on a daily basis. They may not know what it is called, but they live it out every time they go to sea when looking to the sky for signs of what is in store. No two days are the same, and the conditions at sea are constantly changing. Tony was a blue water fisherman for years before ALS came along, and he missed the sea tremendously. Largely because of Tony, and only because of his recommendation, I started working as a sternman on a lobster boat (which I continue to do periodically and wish I had started years ago). I learn much about work, life, and the ocean, where much of my existence is centered now. We laughed so hard we cried when he told me what to expect in terms of "new guy" rites of passage on the boats and it turns out that I love raw seafood so it drove folks crazy when I had no problem eating scallops right out of the shell. When I cut my hair short before ordaining he told me I looked like a cranky seventy-year old fisherman. I told him that I considered that a high compliment. He replied straight-faced that it wasn't meant as one......

    After the funeral we all gathered at the coffee shop where he used to hold court in his motorized chariot and dared everyone to ditch the lattes for straight espresso. We all drank espresso courtesy of the proprietor in Tony's honor. It was a Maine funeral - some folks in suits, the fishermen in jeans and t-shirts. There is much honest and gritty dignity in seafaring communities. The only time these folks wear a suit is when they get married (not always) or are in a box doing the big sleep (invariably) and someone puts it on them. The only way they would wear a suit as they say, is over their dead body. And that's the only time I ever saw Tony in a suit.

    Safe journeys my friend.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 08-08-2013 at 04:40 AM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  22. #22
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Heart Tony smiles.


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praj˝a from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    I wanted to let you all know that my friend Tony, with whom I spent many hours drinking coffee, laughing, crying, drinking espresso and listening to stories of the sea, succumbed to ALS in the VA hospital in Togus, Maine recently. His wake and funeral were this last Saturday. When we write of our service projects, it is hard not to think of outcomes, goals, or improvements that we hope result form our contribution of time and effort. Maybe sometimes no matter what we do, there is not a happy ending. Sometimes people die. But in the time we spent together, we got to know one another, both our lives were enriched, and I was privileged to know a fine human being who was fiercely loyal to his family and friends, and whose life story was woven of the same fabric of human emotions we all share. This fabric gave his life texture and richness. My own practice on the coast of Maine, close to a seafaring community, has led me to see increasingly that fishermen/lobstermen are living out Zen practice on a daily basis. They may not know what it is called, but they live it out every time they go to sea when looking to the sky for signs of what is in store. No two days are the same, and the conditions at sea are constantly changing. Tony was a blue water fisherman for years before ALS came along, and he missed the sea tremendously. Largely because of Tony, and only because of his recommendation, I started working as a sternman on a lobster boat (which I continue to do periodically and wish I had started years ago). I learn much about work, life, and the ocean, where much of my existence is centered now. We laughed so hard we cried when he told me what to expect in terms of "new guy" rites of passage on the boats and it turns out that I love raw seafood so it drove folks crazy when I had no problem eating scallops right out of the shell. When I cut my hair short before ordaining he told me I looked like a cranky seventy-year old fisherman. I told him that I considered that a high compliment. He replied straight-faced that it wasn't meant as one......

    After the funeral we all gathered at the coffee shop where he used to hold court in his motorized chariot and dared everyone to ditch the lattes for straight espresso. We all drank espresso courtesy of the proprietor in Tony's honor. It was a Maine funeral - some folks in suits, the fishermen in jeans and t-shirts. There is much honest and gritty dignity in seafaring communities. The only time these folks wear a suit is when they get married (not always) or are in a box doing the big sleep (invariably) and someone puts it on them. The only way they would wear a suit as they say, is over their dead body. And that's the only time I ever saw Tony in a suit.

    Safe journeys my friend.

    Deep bows
    Yugen

    Thank you Yugen for this beautiful story ... it has touched my heart!

    Gassho
    Shingen



    If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?
    ~ Dogen Zenji

  24. #24
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Reading all the great ideas here is inspirational.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do, so will have to give it some thought. I tend to only have one day free a week because of work and family commitments, so I suspect I will probably focus on something wildlife focused, litter patrol and donate to those in need.

    Thank you Yugen and David for your practice. Both great projects.

    Gassho
    Matt

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Deep bows to all of you who are reaching out to others and serving needs in your community.

    Yugen, I've already shared my thoughts to you on your wonderful endeavor.

    Gassho.
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  26. #26
    Senior Member Joyo's Avatar
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    Well, you said the dirtier the better, so I am taking my kids with me to our local animal shelter tomorrow to pet some cats and perhaps walk a dog. We have done this before and we come home filthy with pet hair, but it is heartwarming to help some animals in need. I think I will also bake something and take it to my elderly neighbour, who lives alone. This is such a great idea!

    Gassho,
    Emmy

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  28. #28
    Went to local temple to pray for Andy Murrays success
    tumblr_mpifjzHh3m1r9532po1_500.jpg

  29. #29
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    A "seasoned" citizen was concerned regarding the extensive ground work required to fix her property.

    She is now not concerned.


    Gassho,
    Edward
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to praj˝a from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hi,
    For this global period of service I've decided to talk to those that are normally ignored: the beggars, cleaners, toilet attendants, car park attendants, bus drivers and street cleaners that I come across. I will just talk, just treat them like the human beings that they are, rather than the servants they are usually treated as.

    A simple project, really.

    Thank you all for your inspiration.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Myozan,
    This is a great project - thank you. Dignity is the most basic and essential right. Looking someone in the eye, listening to them, and establishing a connection with them as individuals is to recognize our interrelationship as human beings. Social structures, titles and positions are things created to differentiate. Our practice I think (among other things) breaks down barriers created by language and social expectations. It's great that you are doing this in the U.S. - I really admire this -

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  32. #32
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Edward, Emmy, Lobster (!),

    I am really excited and grateful for your practice - it's really neat and inspiring to see the different ways we find to be of service - it reflects in some way the small corner of the world we each live in and how we relate to it - often at Treeleaf we express gratitude for the presence, support, and actions of others and it is easy to dismiss it or over look it. I would like to let you know my gratitude is deep and genuine. Even though there are some of us who have been around Treeleaf awhile, the support, efforts and enthusiasm of of our newer colleagues is very important and energizing in terms of our own practice. Thank you-

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  33. #33
    Started with a small act today: picking up litter in the neighborhood for about a half hour. I am enjoying reading all of the work that others are doing. Gassho, Matt J

  34. #34
    Hi.

    We are on cleaining duty here, cleaining off the "nationalparkstretch of forest alongside the river nearby", and we might be able to start up an community doing this once in a while as there has been some talks around this, but, for now, we're happy just to do one thing at a time here...

    Thank you for your practice.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Last edited by Fugen; 07-07-2013 at 08:50 AM.
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  35. #35
    Hi

    My first action is to write letters of support to Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, both of whom have spent over 30 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. Herman is 71 now and was recently diagnosed with liver cancer. Having to spend 23 hours in a small room is no way to treat any human being, especially an old, sick man.

    http://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/urg...s-your-support

    Gassho
    Andy

  36. #36
    My wife and I are applying to be counselors for a day at an English summer camp for Japanese kids who are refugees from the great Tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I am not sure if we will get selected to go yet, but if not, we will find some other activity.

    http://eve.bk.tsukuba.ac.jp/~takemori/English_Camp.pdf

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    My wife and I are applying to be counselors for a day at an English summer camp for Japanese kids who are refugees from the great Tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear reactors. I am not sure if we will get selected to go yet, but if not, we will find some other activity.

    http://eve.bk.tsukuba.ac.jp/~takemori/English_Camp.pdf

    Gassho, J
    I am very content to say that I was picked for this, and this weekend! So, see you guys on Monday! Of course, after the all night sleeper bus up and back that the charity arranged, followed by chasing/being chased by 50 kids for two days ... I may need to recover on Monday!

    Thank you to Mongen, who will be handling the Zazenkai netcast this week at a slightly adjusted time.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  38. #38
    I visited an inmate who was dying of stomach cancer. The only treatment he mentioned was "pepto." Pepto for cancer? They were killing him with nelgect.
    Mention in your letter his need for proper medicines specially painkillers to make his transition as comfortable as is humanly possible.
    Being Louisiana's Angola makes it likely they will abuse Herman.
    That is a backward and proud system there.
    I will write as well.
    Last edited by Ed; 07-15-2013 at 05:08 PM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    At my son's request, we shall be doing clean up on a local trail and/or park. Doesn't get any simpler or more important than that.

    In addition, I shall rededicate myself to being not wrapped up in my own bullshit (pardon my French) and be compassionate to all living things.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  40. #40
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    I will discuss with the family, and we'll figure out a suitable option for us.

  41. #41
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    Greetings all. New here but I admire the wonderful things people are doing here. I think it can be so often tempting that spiritual development be self oriented. This serves as a great reminder. I will be working on plans to participate .

  42. #42
    Senior Member Clark's Avatar
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    OK so as I just joined and for this year I guess just in time for participating in this. I am setting up a spot for donations in my office for people to contribute to our local food bank. I will keep it up for the entire length of the service days, and of course I will be contributing too. Will be interesting to see what this seemingly small offering can accomplish.

  43. #43
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    OK so as I just joined and for this year I guess just in time for participating in this. I am setting up a spot for donations in my office for people to contribute to our local food bank. I will keep it up for the entire length of the service days, and of course I will be contributing too. Will be interesting to see what this seemingly small offering can accomplish.
    That's wonderful Clark. Also welcome to Treeleaf!

    Just remember that if you can make it work, service doesn't have to end with this service period. Try to keep it rolling if it's possible.

    Gassho.
    Seimyo

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  44. #44
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    My nine year old son Sam and I spent time today working at the Community Garden - a plot of land the town has made available for growing vegetables - working a section that is newly set aside for folks in need .... I really like this project and will make time each week for it during the growing season.

    On my larger Island Trail project I will be launching the blog hopefully soon. I have a domain name in mind. I better hurry as I had a "shakedown cruise" this weekend to West Gosling in Upper Casco Bay.

    Thanks for your inspiring projects.

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  45. #45
    Made a map that would fit here, so you can see the fun has just begun! Yellow represents the road already travelled and red is what remains.

    Finisterra.jpg

  46. #46
    Hi guys,

    Found some pictures of my roadtrip so far. Just to give you an idea. Blogging is a good idea Yugen! Looking forward to it! Thinking of doing the same.


    DSC01913.jpgDSC01917.jpgDSC02428.jpg


    Gassho

    enkyo

  47. #47
    Senior Member Daisho's Avatar
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    During the past few weeks on my forays to the thrift store, I've been buying towels and taking them by the animal shelter. Turned in my volunteer application Sunday and I believe orientation is this Sat. When I've made it through that I'll be able to help socialize the animals, walk the dogs and clean kennels on weekends when I don't have to work. Can't wait!
    Gassho,

    Daisho


    (Jack K.)

  48. #48
    Hello,

    thank you all for sharing your very inspiring activities. I will most likely help my wife who is a member of a club trying to re-build a Merovingian village over the course of the next few years by making a video clip that promotes their cause and explains what they are all about.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  49. #49
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: Global Service; I have been trimming neighborhood shrubs and bushes, clearing litter and am negotiating a sitting group at Local health Center.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  50. #50
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Trail cleaning and picking up along the neighborhood roads will be my activity this go round. I wanted to try something new and exciting, but I'm so busy lately that I think the tried and tested is the best way to go for now.
    "You yourself must strive. The Buddhas only point the way." - Shakyamuni Buddha

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