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The Diamond Mountain Blog

This is an unofficial blog of news and info from Diamond Mountain University and Retreat Center which was founded by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of the Dalai Lamas.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Yesterday evening, after working at Nicole's house, I stopped in at the camp ground for dinner. There was a good crowed. Viet, Alisha and baby. Alisha's mom, Tahiya. Viet's sister. Scott, Orit, Ron Becker, Ghram, Chuck, Brannan, Melissa who cooked and later Ven. Chandra and Tiana. It's these small informal gatherings that, for me, are one of the high-lights of living in community. Although I don't live there on the camp ground, I am part of the outer circle of DMU life. Good food is wonderful. It calms everyone down. Tensions or perceived tensions evaporate. The retreatants are out of another deep retreat period and we went in to deliver food and the packages that have been piling up for a month. As it gets hotter we are figuring out ways to keep the greens cool while they are transported up. Even 10min in the heat wilts them to the point of being less then appetizing. We will either start using ice or those blue freezer packs.
I'm reading a book of short stories by Wallace Steigler. I think I mis-spelled his last name. My apologies. He writes about life in the early 1900's. His characters are remarkable because of the great depths of emotion they express while saying very little. Some feel like they can't say much because of social convention, others out of fear of reprisal. There is casual cruelty to both people and animals. It made me wonder upon the body count of just the animal beings after after white settlers came to the wild lands of the America's. Animals that were considered pests like ground hogs, coyotes and wolves were killed matter of fact-ly. Even the animals under our 'care'. Thousands of heads of cattle lost to blizzard or drought or just because they were dropped in the middle of a land that could not support them. Then there were the men and women who risked their lives to make a living on that land. It's astounding. Audacious and desperate. The results were in many ways terrible. The native peoples nearly wiped out. The native animal life decimated and in some cases wiped off the face of the earth. The ecosystems poisoned and distorted. And then there's me. I'm sitting at the front of that train with all the weight and momentum of the past behind me and compelling me forward. What do I do with this time I have? Considering the actions of people past and present, the three year retreat no longer seems even a little insane. And if it is then it's just par for course.
The pistachio orchard planted two more huge plots of trees this last eight months. I've only been here about four years but this is the driest I've ever seen it. Many plants and trees died over the winter. Some will come back. But with only fifty years of ground water left at the current use, it seems crazy to plant more trees out here. Our ignorance is an agent to hasten death. It's like facing it is too over whelming and dark. Best to act like nothing is happening and hold off the break down, emotional or environmental. I cannot be too hard on the orchard. I do the same thing day to day in my life. I think of what Ghandi-ji said "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." I would add "or we can expect to see no change in the world what so ever."
There are many wonderful things happening now, I'm not trying to be gloomy. So many people care and are good and do amazing things. Mr. Steigler got me thinking on how complicated it all is. We are all so tied together even if we don't want to be. And there is so little time to figure it all out.


Blogger Special K said...

Do you mean Wallace Stegner? He's amazing - Angle of Repose is a really beautiful book.

May 07, 2011 3:47 PM  

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