By Dennis Daiken Ferrill, MRO
On May 30th at Fire Lotus Temple, just a week after the end of our spring Ango, we celebrated a day of Fushin Samu, or Sangha Work Day. Traditionally, fushin samu refers to the ordinary work of communal labor. It was fitting that the day came at the end of three months in which we focused every day on Sangha and how to be within it, because this was a real demonstration of the seamless participation of our whole sangha family for the benefit of everyone.
After a long period of warm and humid weather, the day turned out to be perfect for work, sunny but not too hot. We started with a shoulder-to-shoulder caretaking service in the morning, followed by instructions like: “here’s your crew, now clean the things we never to get to clean.” It was exciting to realize that not only does this work matter, but we were setting the stage for months of practice.
People kept arriving and by noon the entire building was humming with work and humor. Just in time for a gorgeous community lunch! By the time the day ended, we had new paint on the zendo ceiling, newly repaired tiles in the zendo floor, brilliant tomato plants in the roof garden, clean doors on the front of the building, a lush garden in front of the doors, and a dozen other beauties.
That same weekend, the Monastery did its own fushin samu—cleaning up the roadsides on Routes 212 and 28, working in the vegetable garden, and tending to the flower and moss gardens around the main building. The day was sunny and not too warm, and the rain held off until the day’s work was finished.