Just after 1:00 PM on Sunday, April 12th, the Sangha participated in the traditional hike up Mt. Tremper. About thirty people took part in the event, which followed the Ango Intensive Retreat on “Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures,” led by Shugen Sensei.
Some had wondered if the hike would need to be rescheduled—a resident who checked the conditions of the trail earlier in the week had seen sections of the path covered by as much as four inches of water. But the go-ahead was given, and it proved to be a beautiful day for a hike. The sky was cloudless and blue. The temperature was in the sixties. It felt like one of the first true days of spring. A few days of dry weather had helped to improve the conditions, and although there were wet patches throughout and some icy snow near the top, none of that made the trail impassable.
At the top of the mountain, Shugen Sensei officiated a brief service. An altar was set up using natural materials and everyone chanted the Emmei Jukku Kannon Gyo, which was dedicated to the Mountains and Rivers.
As the group returned to Monastery from the Hike, they were met by delicious food and refreshments, lovingly prepared by monastics, residents, and the local Sangha.
The hike stood out as a joyful way to be with the Sangha, to welcome spring, and for each person to renew his or her commitment as we move towards the second half of the Ango.