by Jeffrey Gyokudo Roberts, MRO
Amidst birdsong and blue sky, our 2015 Spring Ango Intensive training period came to its end on Sunday, May 24th, and the sangha returned to harbor from the journey we set out on together during the snowy days of March.
The morning started early with dawn zazen and the conclusion of sesshin, and moved into the Sunday Morning program and a dharma encounter with Shugen Sensei, which centered around the question “What is Sangha?” The dialogue during the dharma encounter explored sangha from multiple angles, including taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions; the importance of social justice as we understand the sangha to include all beings; and seeking guidance from our “grandfather rock” and sangha elder, Mt. Tremper. The theme for this ango, Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures, was clearly manifested throughout the morning, as people expressed a yearning for healing and shared their honest grappling with how to be close to others through easy and difficult times.
At the end of Dharma Encounter, the sangha laughed together as we posed on the circular steps for our traditional ango photo. We took refuge in each other, our teachers, and our practice as we gathered in the dining hall, ready to eat lunch.