When Joanna Macy Visited City Of 10K Buddhas
Posted by Zilong Wang on Apr 4, 2017
The 88-year-young Joanna has long wished to visit CTTB, a place she has heard so much about from friends and from reading the book Highway Dharma Letters. Our affinities have finally ripened.
"We are parked right next to a peacock", said Joanna on the phone as she arrived in the City. Well, that description doesn't quite narrow the location down in CTTB :)
We toured the campus, soaked up the bowing session melodies and energies in the Buddha Hall, enjoyed a delicious vegan meal at the volunteer-run restaurant, walked by the boys' and the girls' schools, and had tea in the Dharma Realm Buddhist University. All along, we shared stories of Master Hua's unshakeable vows and skillful teachings, the history of CTTB, and the visions of this practicing community.
As we walked slowly through the City, Joanna would frequently cheer at the unusual streets names.
"Look, Avatamsaka Way! The Avatamsaka Sutra has given me much inspiration on the teaching of interdependence."
"Oh, we are on Proper Speech Avenue! I like the translation 'proper' better than the word 'right' for the Eight Fold Path."
Joanna was intent on seeing the land where the future Buddha Hall will be built. The new campus will eventually accommodate hundreds of monastics and resident practitioners, and thousands of participants in the main hall -- a center for the sharing of proper Dharma in the West.
As we arrived at the foot of the Wonderful Enlightenment Mountain, Joanna said to our small group of five, "Let's go offer our prayer and blessings."
There is not yet a single building on this peaceful meadow. Just "empty space", pregnant with possibilities.
As we quietly connected with the spirit of the land and of Master Hua's vows, Joanna led us to invite the presence, support and protection of all beings.
"Snakes -- to show boundaries and help people pay attention.
"The wind, the birds. And chimes and bells so that the wind can make music.
"The deer. And this can become a "Deer Park".
"I think there should be a garden here, too! Blessings on the gardens and the earthworms.
"And a pond for the dragons! :)
"To honor the ancestors of this land, and their land. And to make room for their descendants.
"Generations, centuries from now, will give thanks for this beautiful Buddha Hall.
"So, with hearts united, we make this prayer, for the sacred use of beautiful, beautiful land."
To be able to host Joanna here at CTTB was especially meaningful for me, because her life and teachings has helped me to reconnect with Dharma, and eventually to find Master Hua as my Teacher. It felt like coming full circle.
As we ended the day, we all felt as if we have been walking in Master Hua's presence. This entire "City" -- a 700-acre pure land -- appeared out of seemingly nowhere, entirely because of the vows and cultivation of just "one person". Imagine what may be possible when each of us tap into the power of vows and selfless service!
May the Dharma nourish the West and benefit all living beings! Bowing to all the teachers and Bodhisattva siblings!
Joanna Macy on the Shambhala Warrior