July 20, 2009

A groundbreaking weekend

The grassy clearing on the hill is now, incredibly, a building site. Nearly 50 holes have been dug, and after two days of at times backbreaking labor they contain foundation pilings of concrete and rebar.

Our volunteer work crew was nothing short of inspiring. On Saturday more than 300 bags of concrete and 800 feet of rebar were carried by hand from road-side pallets down through deep forest to the remote building site. Hundreds of buckets of water were pumped uphill from the stream in the valley, thanks to the last-minute genius (and available pump) of one of the crew; we had expected a bucket brigade to be necessary for this.

With all the foundation holes excavated and more than half of them filled with curing concrete, darkness finally forced an end to the day. Saturday evening saw the usual gatherings as the crew was released from duty. A campfire fueled by recently cleared maple and oak was the center of one gathering near the south entrance. Another large group descended onto the nearby town for dinner. Our Russian-speaking contingent was discovered holding a separate party - not to be missed - gathered in a quiet circle on grass above the site. By midnight, all had retired except the usual visiting coyotes and owls.

Sunday morning came early, and saw a mad rush to complete the pouring of concrete. There was some concern that our mix would run short. Amazingly, the job was done...with not a single bag to spare out of the 300 plus. In the meantime our parking area received its first load of road gravel: Korinji now has an entrance drive usable as such.

Today, most of us are recovering, nursing sore backs and arms. But as I write I notice with amazement that many of the crew have showed up at the Chicago dojo tonight for martial arts training. These hardcore volunteers, who for two days exhausted themselves carrying and pouring concrete, are tonight practicing Aikido.

After this weekend, Korinji's property has been transformed. We now have the beginnings of a place to which they lead. We know exactly where our gate, and our main house, will be, and what it will look like walking there in the future. From the ravine below the building site, one can now look up to see a row of grey concrete pilings jutting up from the grass like rows of blunt teeth.

With the intense spirit our crew displayed this past weekend, I have no doubt that a roof and walls will soon also be seen through the leaves.

Korinji's Images page has been updated with video from this past weekend.

July 15, 2009

What goes into the Korinji foundation

No, not the charitible organization. The base of the building:
  • 21,040 lbs. of concrete mix
  • 37,500 lbs. (15 cubic yards) of crushed stone
  • 840 feet of rebar
  • 60 feet of forming tube
  • One Skidsteer with 12" and 18" augur bits
  • A lot of buckets
  • 38 volunteers
The forecast is good for this weekend. We'll receive our stone and other materials Friday, with the crew arriving Saturday morning.

Look for a full report (with video!) next week.

July 3, 2009

GROUNDBREAKING: July 18-19

The following announcement has been made by the Korinji Foundation:

Dear Korinji Friends,

At long last, I'm grateful to be able to invite you all to participate in the groundbreaking of Korinji, our new Zen monastery.

Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19, will be one of our "Monastery Work Weekends". This time (following a brief groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday morning) we'll actually be pouring the foundations of Korinji's zendo, or training hall. We've got the machines and materials prepared...now we just need your hands and sweat.

Similar to our last work weekend when we completed the clearing of our first structure's building site, we'll be camping out together on the Korinji land, and will spend Saturday evening around the campfire. Also similar to last time is our need for a large crew. We need many hands this time to gravel the parking area, to haul water, to mix concrete, and to help us get the foundation in the ground. Once this is done, we can relax just a little bit: future construction of the building can be done with smaller crews. So, if you've considered helping Korinji with this project, now is a very good time to come up and pitch in.

We really need you...it's crucial that we have enough folks helping to excavate and pour in one weekend. Please join us, and take part in the historic beginning of this new training center!

I plan to be on the land Friday. As before, if some of you wish to come up early, you are very welcome to join me. Your family and friends are also welcome to join us.

PLEASE RSVP by emailing Korinji: info@korinji.org. I'll have details coming shortly as our work crew list is finalized.

We're finally there. Please accept my thanks, again, for all the support and work you've contributed to bring us to this point. We'll continue our fundraising and other work to complete and develop Korinji, of course (more news on upcoming fundraisers shortly), but for now we've earned a pat on the back.

I'm looking forward to working together with you all on July 18-19 as we begin to see an actual building grow...

Sincerely,

Meido Moore
President
The Korinji Foundation