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  "All Monk Issue of In Our Practice"
(In Our Practice, Summer 2000)


By Cheri Huber

Historically summer has been a quiet time at the Zen Center. School is out, vacations begin, and thoughts turn to fun and frolic. In the past, summer fun has not included visits to the Monastery. Apparently those days are over.

This summer, between July 1 and September 9, we are offering five There Is Nothing Wrong With You retreats (and based on the number of people we have had to turn away we could have held at least three more), a Kid's Retreat (next year we will offer one in June, July, and August), plus the Carmel retreat.

In addition we have expanded the garden times three, gotten the "water feature" up and running, added four campsites for over-flow retreatants, and have started three new "tent platforms" which we will convert into guest hermitages as the weather cools.

It is time for the monks to have a retreat! This "monk" will be away the last half of July, and the Monastery will begin a sesshin-like schedule. Work periods will be limited to that which is essential for keeping the garden thriving and putting food on the table.

As we prepare for our final retreat for guests before the monks begin their private retreat, I asked them to contribute to this "monk's issue" of In Our Practice. As with many activities other than the regular schedule, writing articles for the newsletter or contributing to an on-line class, is optional. Not all the monks contributed something, but many did, and those offerings make up the bulk of this issue.

The life of a monk is mysterious to many people. Why would anyone choose to be a monk? What is involved in being a monk? Is it hard and miserable? Are they happy? Did they grow up wanting to be a monk? Are they normal?

Many, many questions seem too intrusive or too embarrassing to ask, yet often remain as an unacknowledged hindrance to practice. The underlying question is: Could that happen to me? Or perhaps, "How involved in practice can I be without danger of ending up living as a monk in a monastery?"

This issue is an opportunity to get a little glimpse behind the curtain. If you would like, you may address questions to the monks, which they can respond to in subsequent issues of the newsletter. I think what you will find is that there are as many kinds of monks as there are kinds of people. Their practice, their concerns, their hopes and dreams are not that different from folks living in the world. Their lives are regular lives, the heat is just turned up a bit?ometimes it's turned up quite a bit.

My vision in building a monastery such as the one we have is to make monastic training available everyone. Some people find themselves able to participate in monastic practice for extended periods of time, others for only a few weeks or a few days. Some of those who are able to be monks for the shorter periods of time choose to commit to regular visits. If I had my druthers, everyone would spend a part of each year as a monk. Spiritual practice doesn't have to be limited by life-style. Parents, people with full-time jobs, anyone with demanding time constraints, can find a day or two here and a day or two there during which to devote themselves to their spiritual life. As the benefits become apparent, we tend to find more and more time to practice.

Those who commit for longer times make the privileged environment of monastic training available to all of us. Without those who give months or years of their lives to supporting and maintaining that sacred space, the rest of us would not have silence and solitude as an option in our lives. The monks perform a tremendous service for all of us. It is good to acknowledge their gift to us, to support them in the difficult and inspiring work they do, and to extend to them grateful thoughts and kind best wishes.

I invite each person reading these words to come and participate with us at the Monastery. Allow us to support you in your practice and allow yourself the pleasure of supporting you in your practice and others in their practice as we realize that WE support US in practice.


 
"All Monk Issue of In Our Practice" (In Our Practice, Summer 2000)

By Cheri Huber

Historically summer has been a quiet time at the Zen Center. School is out, vacations begin, and thoughts turn to fun and frolic. In the past, summer fun has not included visits to the Monastery. Apparently those days are over.

This summer, between July 1 and September 9, we are offering five There Is Nothing Wrong With You retreats (and based on the number of people we have had to turn away we could have held at least three more), a Kid's Retreat (next year we will offer one in June, July, and August), plus the Carmel retreat.

In addition we have expanded the garden times three, gotten the "water feature" up and running, added four campsites for over-flow retreatants, and have started three new "tent platforms" which we will convert into guest hermitages as the weather cools.

It is time for the monks to have a retreat! This "monk" will be away the last half of July, and the Monastery will begin a sesshin-like schedule. Work periods will be limited to that which is essential for keeping the garden thriving and putting food on the table.

As we prepare for our final retreat for guests before the monks begin their private retreat, I asked them to contribute to this "monk's issue" of In Our Practice. As with many activities other than the regular schedule, writing articles for the newsletter or contributing to an on-line class, is optional. Not all the monks contributed something, but many did, and those offerings make up the bulk of this issue.

The life of a monk is mysterious to many people. Why would anyone choose to be a monk? What is involved in being a monk? Is it hard and miserable? Are they happy? Did they grow up wanting to be a monk? Are they normal?

Many, many questions seem too intrusive or too embarrassing to ask, yet often remain as an unacknowledged hindrance to practice. The underlying question is: Could that happen to me? Or perhaps, "How involved in practice can I be without danger of ending up living as a monk in a monastery?"

This issue is an opportunity to get a little glimpse behind the curtain. If you would like, you may address questions to the monks, which they can respond to in subsequent issues of the newsletter. I think what you will find is that there are as many kinds of monks as there are kinds of people. Their practice, their concerns, their hopes and dreams are not that different from folks living in the world. Their lives are regular lives, the heat is just turned up a bit?ometimes it's turned up quite a bit.

My vision in building a monastery such as the one we have is to make monastic training available everyone. Some people find themselves able to participate in monastic practice for extended periods of time, others for only a few weeks or a few days. Some of those who are able to be monks for the shorter periods of time choose to commit to regular visits. If I had my druthers, everyone would spend a part of each year as a monk. Spiritual practice doesn't have to be limited by life-style. Parents, people with full-time jobs, anyone with demanding time constraints, can find a day or two here and a day or two there during which to devote themselves to their spiritual life. As the benefits become apparent, we tend to find more and more time to practice.

Those who commit for longer times make the privileged environment of monastic training available to all of us. Without those who give months or years of their lives to supporting and maintaining that sacred space, the rest of us would not have silence and solitude as an option in our lives. The monks perform a tremendous service for all of us. It is good to acknowledge their gift to us, to support them in the difficult and inspiring work they do, and to extend to them grateful thoughts and kind best wishes.

I invite each person reading these words to come and participate with us at the Monastery. Allow us to support you in your practice and allow yourself the pleasure of supporting you in your practice and others in their practice as we realize that WE support US in practice.


 

 
Copyright 2003-2011 Cheri Huber