On the Road: Visiting and Sharing Mid-Stream
Chapter 2, Summer 2017
by Marcia Lieberman
Next came Helena, the capital of Montana, and an invitation to plant a garden outside the Open Circle zendo window with native grasses. A small sturdy crew met each afternoon to make this happen—and the last bit of work was done to the roll of thunder and lightening. Our morning practice allowed us to study zendo forms and sounding zendo instruments. Each morning I walked with a sangha member to the office building that houses the zendo. This kind of friendliness was part of my visits all summer.
One of the delights of being on the road is the chance to create in the midst of whatever is available. For example, the way of tea occurred in a dining room and the tokonoma (tea altar) included a minature grizzly bear and flowering weeds from the alley– the beauty and pleasure was unimpaired.
Before heading back to San Francisco, my last stop was at Milwaukee Zen Center with resident priest and teacher Reirin Gumbel and sangha members. Twice a week we offered ‘Taste of Ritual’ to the extended sangha—an after work event that included either tea or oryoki supper. After a period spent teaching zen forms, nature and zen—the residency there concluded with a dedication ceremony in the new garden we created. This garden has a public entrance and will also serve as additional space for meetings and ceremonies.
I hope to continue this pilgrimage each summer to visit and learn more about the non-residential practice centers. Collaboration with each center to develop a program that fits is part of the project. I’m grateful for the support and encouragement of the centers visited and the direction of Steve Weintraub, the Branching Streams Liaison. –Marcia
If you would like to know more about this program, or are interested in Marcia visiting, please contact her. Marcia is the beekeeper at San Francisco Zen Center.