Moving Ahead!

“Miracles are nothing more than fetching water and carrying firewood.”

Zen Master Dogen goes on to say that, “Even when people do not know that fetching water is a miracle, fetching water is undeniably a miracle.”

Getting to this point in the purchasing of Bread Loaf Mountain Monastery and Zen Community is “undeniably a miracle” too! On Bodhi Day, December 8th, the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment, we were able to release the final contingency for the sale and commit to closing on the property on December 20th!

We will dedicate the temple at 4:00 on December 27th, and two of our members, Sue Grigg and Colleen Brown, will receive the precepts! Please plan to come to this opening celebration (see info below). There is no better way for us to embark on this life of practice together than by saturating our new temple with our common heart of a vowed life of service to others.

Dogen’s quote about undeniable miracles really strikes me today as I take in what has happened over the past two months since this idea of starting a practice community sparked in us. The many people who worked on making this happen do not know that they are themselves miracles – it has been like working with the many hands of Avalokiteshvara – an eye and a tool in the palm of every hand, each one seeing what needs to be done, doing it right, with skill, with great care, joy and love. They navigated through this complicated purchase just as they endeavor to show up for this complicated world. It is undeniably a miracle.

My heart is full of gratitude for the practice – and the trust – of the donors and funders, the volunteer advisors, the architects, engineers, and inspectors, the neighbors and encouraging community members, and Minh and her family who are selling their beloved and well-cared-for home to our little Buddhist group.

This week we are preparing the closing documents. Paperwork is the name of the game most days! But yesterday we also purchased Vermont-made meditation cushions and Japanese temple bells so that we can start to practice together in a beautiful and comfortable space. We can now shift our focus toward creating a practice environment that is conducive to sitting, study, and service.

Friends, I hope you will dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to our practice together. Our awakening unfolds in the midst of everyday and ordinary activities like fetching water and carrying firewood – stripping wall paper, painting walls, re-arranging furniture, setting up a zendo for meditation, bookkeeping, building a library, doing administration, and of course, sitting and serving the community together. Many of you have offered, and very soon, we will organize work parties. I am really looking forward to these – getting to know one another in the midst of our shared project.

Please RSVP to me if you are planning to come to the Temple Dedication and Precepts Ceremony on December 27th at 4:00. Please plan to arrive a little early. We will also offer a pot luck dinner in the space at 6:00 – so if you are coming please bring a nutritious dish to share with others! We’ll want to get a general head count, so RSVP TO ME VIA EMAIL AT

The address for BLMZC is 3958 Rte 30, Cornwall, VT. Please park in our parking lot and behind the red barn, not on the street, being mindful of traffic. Carpool if you can! If you need to reach me by phone, call (505) 500-7838.

With a loving heart,

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