Two new practice centers have opened in Washington State over the past year. Last autumn , Dharma teacher Eileen Kiera of the Mountain Lamp Community and her husband, Jack Duffy, Roshi, purchased 40 acres to establish a rural practice center in western Washington. Located in Whatcom County, the land lies on Lake Jorgensen at the foot of the Cascade Mountains. Two streams run through the property, and coyote, beaver, deer, great horned owls, bobcats, elk , and other wildlife make the land their home. In April , we planted 400 trees in forested areas that had been partially logged. This process was a great opportunity to exercise mindfulness. Each step required careful attention to ensure the healthy growth and survival of the sapling: choosing the site, digging the hole, loosening soil, selecting the species of tree, snipping the roots to stimulate growth, and carefully placing the roots into the hole. During a ceremony dedicating the land, we offered a concrete-cast Buddha's head with the vow that this may be a place of refuge for all who visit, and sang, "Now I Walk in Beauty."
In Seattle, the Mindfulness Community of Puget Sound (MCPS) and Three Treasures Sangha, a Diamond Sangha aftiliate, bought a house for joint use as a practice centre. The house has beautiful and unusual garden plants, a grape arbor, and many fru it trees. Both communities moved in November 1996 and together celebrated the Buddha's enlightenment in December. The conncctions between the two Sanghas are strongly forged-MCPS is led by Eileen Kiera. Jack Duffy, a Dharma heir of Robert Aitken, Roshi, is the teacher for Three Treasures.
Through the spring, Eileen offered a class on the Eightfold Path and MCPS began to hold a monthly Days of Mindfulness at the center in June. The space is also used for other classes and meetings. Our Sangha has fo und a deep peace and strength practicing together in our own home.
Eileell Kiera, Kate Wehr, and Luci Goodman contributed to this article. To receive news about these practice centers, write to Mountain Lamp Community, 5999 Schombush Road. Deming, WA 98244.