This was the view from out front of my East Vancouver zendo last night, just before dark and the storm rolled in. It’s not exactly a picture of meditative peace, but it’s a neighbourhood we all recognize: hurried and sometimes ugly, captivating, ripe, and mostly transitory.
I’m working in the city, out of the downtown office building, all this week – which I planned for by scheduling many meetings, in addition to social outings with friends, and trips to the zendo to sit with my sangha. I like to joke that I must be the only person who leaves a quiet gulf island, to come and meditate in industrial East Van – but it really is the context that makes Mountain Rain such an unexpected pearl. I had a mind last night to go to all of the temples and churches in the city and take a picture of the view from the front door – to prove some kind of point about where we find our spiritual homes – but those who have traveled out in the world know that it’s rare to find a well-used temple out in a far flung rice field, or an fully packed church sitting on a lonely hilltop. Our places of gathering are our places of transit – and real estate is much cheaper near the trainyard besides.