Just Dream

Zen Mountain Monastery's Board of Governor's Meeting

Sybil Seisui Thomas, MRO

Featured in Mountain Record 29.3, Spring 2011




I must confess that I approached the Board of Governors meeting scheduled for October 16, 2010, the date for the Monastery’s 30th anniversary celebration, with some trepidation. Though BOG meetings are held here, roughly, every five years, this will be my first time attending. Who are these officious-sounding Governors anyway and what is their purpose? As the meeting nears, I discover that the Governors are none other than myself and the other sangha members present this afternoon. And that our charge, as Ryushin Sensei describes it, is to let reality go and “just dream.”

How refreshing: an invitation to ignore reality. How often does that happen? We Governors are being asked to imagine the Monastery, Fire Lotus Temple and the Mountains and Rivers Order just as we would like them to be, now and in the future, without the usual regard for how, when, where, who, or even why.

The envisioning the sangha engages today will churn up questions of identity: Who are we, individually and as a collective? How do we take care of ourselves, our teachers, and the world? And what will be the karma of our practice here and now?

Our hearts and minds have already been primed for the job ahead. This morning we walked in our robes up to the cemetery— the Nirvana Forest—where Daido Roshi’s remains are interred. John Daido Loori, Roshi, founder of Zen Mountain Monastery and our original dreamer, was, for many of us, our first teacher. It has been a year now since his death. The somber skies cannot diminish the fire in the remaining leaves nor the fullness of our gratitude to Daidoshi.