-Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP
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The Land of Medicine Buddha is full of paths and trails to run or walk during our break each day. If you pay attention as you go, it is not uncommon to see interesting statues and iconography along the path. Sometimes there is something placed before the statue as an ‘offering’, as in the photograph above. My mother being Japanese, and having trained in Zen, I am most familiar with the Japanese expression of Buddhism where it is customary to burn incense before a statue of the Buddha as an offering. However, I have never heard of offering cash or trinkets before the Buddha as in the photo above. This made me curious. Is this is customary in other branches of Buddhism? Or, is this simply the spontaneous action of people passing by hoping to garner a little good karma?
One of the things I have really been looking forward to this year is our days off. Every year – so far at least – we get a couple of days where we get a half-day or full-day off. This gives us a chance to either rest, catch up on our work, or take day trips up and down the California coastline.
This year I hooked up with my Norwegian friends from level 2, Carina, Anne and Anne’s husband Frode, for an excursion to Half Moon Bay. It was about an hour’s drive north from Land of Medicine Buddha on scenic Route 1. On the way we saw beautiful cliffside beaches full of people parasailing, and stopped to do a little rock skipping on the beach. The day had started off sunny at LMB but as we drove north we entered into the fog that is so characteristic for this part of California during summer and the temperature dropped accordingly.
Once we arrived it took us a little while to get our bearings but we started with fish and chips at Barbara’s Fishtrap. We then drove downtown just in time to have a look around and have some tea before they rolled up the sidewalks. Lucky for us the best was yet to come. We had seen photos of the Ritz Carlton hotel overlooking the cliffs at Half Moon Bay and decided to go have a look before leaving.
Once we got to the Ritz we were taken with the hotel and its vast patio overlooking the cliffs. We ordered some drinks had a seat around the fire pit since it was now evening and it was starting to get chilly. We sat and talked and watched the sun go down (see photo). It was one of those perfect moments that I have had in the past during teacher trainings that you can never plan but is pure magic when it happens.
This giant Buddha statue is to be found inside the ‘Wish Fulfilling Temple’, up the hill from the ‘Pine Room’ where we do most of our daily study and practice. It is a statue of Maitreya Buddha, who is the future Buddha. Wikipedia has this to say about Maitreya: “Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha (also known as Śākyamuni Buddha). According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma.”
One of the best things about these trainings at Land of Medicine Buddha is getting to be lead through class every morning. As someone who teaches twenty four classes a week, it is so nice to be the student for a change. In fact, the first Yin class I ever took was here at LMB three years ago. Even though I had taught Yin successfully for several years, I had never gotten to take a proper Yin class myself. My Yin classes were based off of my home practice, and studying the material that was available to me at the time. So my first Yin yoga class ended up being here at LMB, with Suzee Grilley leading the class, and Bernie Clark (author of YinSights and The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga) and Paul Grilley taking the class with me. Needless to say I was in heaven.