One day Murshid asked me to meet with a Buddhist colleague who was interested in starting a center on Mt. Shasta. Seems they were at the same Japanese monastery at different times.
She had flown over the mountain, when the cloud cover parted, and the mountain ‘winked’ at her. She then knew that she was supposed to move there.
Since I was just down from Mt. Shasta, Murshid asked me to guide her in her quest.
She was a large British woman, with a huge heart, and a twinkling sense of humor.
Knowing my inner child’s attraction to redheads, she once showed up at my bookstore – Rainbow Bridge – wearing a red wig, and a suit – and, winking at me, said – if you only knew me when I was at “Oxbridge.”
A frequent overnight guest at my home, she loved ‘blowing’ her students minds, and I was often the excuse she used to do so.
I recall when once I remarked that I ‘understood’ the koan of one hand clapping. She looked at me questioningly, and I replied “Allah Hu Akbar!” in full blast. “You got it” she said, and out of the corner of my eye I could see her monks almost falling over in shock.
After Murshids passing, she agreed to take the DHO on in her daily prayers and meditations.
At our last DHO gathering on Mt. Shasta, we visited her monastery, chanted the heart sutra while processing around her grave, and met the new head (also a British woman). I and amazed to find that some of the old timers had sweet memories of their sleep overs at my tiny home.
Till we meet again Bodhisatva.
One of my favorite stories about their community:
While they were preparing the Abbey on Mt. Shasta, they also had a center in Berkley.
At their Berkley center, they were preparing for life in the country, and knowing they would have a large garden, they began to create and store compost for the Shasta Abbey’s garden – still in the future.
One day I received a most bizzar phone call from the Berkley center – seems someone had sneaked into their back yard one night and stolen all their collected compost. Only in Berkley.