Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

It’s a windy afternoon here in Albuquerque. The settee on our front patio has blown over, and you can hardly see the mountains through the haze of dust blowing all over the city. But from my back bedroom window I can see many beautiful flowers blooming in the Desert Mirror meditation garden:

plump wisteria shaped like bunches of grapes; deep purple irises, bright red and white tulips; the creamy magenta of the red bud tree; blue hyacinths; and the bright yellow blossoms of the bush whose name I don’t know, the one in front of the Guest House library/community room window. (Can anyone local help me identify it?)

Yesterday (Saturday, April 2nd) was our first Sangha Day of 2011. In Buddhism, the sangha is the community of people who practice together, and Sangha Day is what we call the special day when we gather to do mindful work around the temple and grounds.

As we immerse ourselves fully in the task and feeling of the moment, these applied mindfulness efforts are completely an end in themselves. And they are also a helpful means of maintaining the formal practice environment, for our community of practitioners, and for the benefit of all beings.

Maia Duerr of Upaya Zen Center drove all the way down from Santa Fe to join Carol Hobart, Joe and Russ in the garden, and together we made very noticeable progress on the spring garden clean-up process. Much of the detritus from last year was cleared from about half of the garden, lots of debris was bagged up for disposal, and new plantings went in. In place of the old, dead geraniums along the walkway to the zendo, we transplanted about a dozen iris bulbs, several columbine, and some coreopsis, plus we put in a few brand new Peter’s Gold Carpet [Bidens ferulaefolia], a relative of our dear friend, Coreopsis.

There are still several other proposed new garden residents waiting to join our pleasing profusion – primarily ground cover for the areas near the walking meditation paths. But it was just a half-day event, and there were only four of us; so we did very well to make as much progress as we did!

Big bows of gratitude to Maia and Carol!

Love, Russ and Joe