The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass. — Dogen Zenji, Genjokoan
At the start of the thee-day Returning to Silence Retreat outside Cincinnati this March, twenty people settled themselves into a makeshift zendo inside a converted barn at the Grailville Retreat Center. Before the first bell, participants took turns saying where they’d come from.
“Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington DC, New York, California, Canada . . . ”
From different places, beginning with meditation workshops in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, a sangha had formed to sit its second sesshin. Without knowing one another, nearby residents Ben Hutchison and Michelle Catanzarite had attended the same weekend retreat at the Hazy Moon in June 2012, inspiring Karen Maezen Miller to travel to Ohio a year later. A growing contingent of practitioners from Washington DC added their numbers. At this, the second annual retreat, the spirit of training deepened. Members took up service positions including jikido, jisha, and ino. The lineage has been planted in southern Ohio.
A re-purposed farm, the Grailville facilities are dated and modest, but the open ground where horses and livestock roamed is untouched by time. Spring skies in Ohio are powerfully dynamic, with clouds, wind, rain, sun and intermittent snow. The sitting is spectacular.
Practice reveals the three treasures, and the commitment of the sangha was evident by the close of the retreat. Because members live at a distance from one another and the mother temple Hazy Moon, Maezen proposed that they call themselves the Dewdrop Sangha, and along with people who have practiced with Maezen in California, Colorado, Kansas City, Minnesota, and New Orleans, come together when conditions are feasible and give each other support for at-home practice. The next gathering will occur when Maezen visits Lil Omm Yoga Studio in Washington DC June 21-22.