August 27, 2009

Ladders and lineage

Volunteers are beginning to swell the September work crew lists. This throws our tool needs, however, into sharp relief. A recent coup was the location of a 5000-watt generator, in good working order, on Ebay...Chicago pick-up only! We managed to obtain it for $100.00 - an utter steal. We now continue to scan online for circular saws.

Ladders are one thing we're not seeing many of. We hope to avoid buying new ones, wasteful as that would be. We need a 6' and an 8' step ladder, and two 20' extending ladders. If you happen to have one of these lying around and care to donate it, by all means let us know! In the meantime, please keep your eyes out for them on Ebay, Craigslist, at local sales, etc.

Finally: the Korinji website has a slightly different look, somewhat cleaner in layout. Let us know what you think.

One new page of interest details the Rinzai Zen lineage that has given rise to Korinji, coming down through Omori Sogen Roshi. Actually, temples themselves don't have lineages (other than the historical succession of their abbots); only people do. The lineage chanted daily by monks (Teidai Denpo) at a given monastery is therefore the lineage of dharma transmission of that monastery's current shike (abbot), and so could change over time.

When Korinji is dedicated and begins functioning as a residence for practitioners, such will also be the case; for now, however, our page shows the lineage held in common by the various teachers who are working to establish Korinji.

August 19, 2009

Bring a hammer...

Our zendo construction plan and timeline have been set. If all goes according to schedule, we'll have the main structure up by mid-October. Now, we just need you.

So far we've been amazed at the number of supporters who have turned out for our past monastery work weekends, during which we cleared the building site and and poured the foundation. As many as 40 volunteers have been present at a time. Can we expect more of the same? Now that we've gotten to the point of actually seeing a structure rise from the ground, we hope that we can...

It's crunch time at Korinji, in other words. Here are the monastery work weekend dates for September, with some descriptions of what we hope to accomplish each time:

Saturday, Sept. 5th (one day only): finish the foundation and install plates on our pilings.

Saturday and Sunday Sept. 12-13: place the support posts on the pilings, and begin the main deck.

Saturday and Sunday Sept. 19-20: finish the main deck, and begin the walls and ceiling structures

Saturday and Sunday Sept. 26-27: continue with walls and a-frames, working toward beginning of roof construction

For Sept. 5th, we need 3-5 volunteers. For the rest of the September weekends, we need a minimum of 10 volunteers each trip. More volunteers are better, of course, and will insure that our work is completed before cold weather comes in the fall.

Come one, come all. No pair of hands will be turned away. All of you will be directly contributing to the actual construction process. One bonus for those of you who have enjoyed camping out on Korinji's beautiful 17 acres: once we have the deck up, we can camp on more searching for a flat spot to pitch a tent!

To volunteer for any or all of our September work crews, please email Korinji:

As always, thank you all.

August 17, 2009

Work Needs

This week, Korinji board members will meet with our construction managers to finalize weekend work dates through the end of the year. To get the main structure of our first building up and enclosed before the weather turns, we estimate a minimum of five solid weekends. We look forward to announcing those to you shortly.

We'll be needing many hands as usual, both skilled and unskilled: during the recent foundation pouring, the crucial work was done not only by those excavating the site and mixing the concrete, but also by the gangs that carried hundreds of bags of concrete down to the construction site, and hundreds of buckets of water from the stream. Without their labor, nothing would have been possible. Had a lesser number of volunteers come, we might not have finished our work that day.

Now that we have a few folks bringing four-wheel drive vehicles capable of navigating our construction road, that kind of old-fashioned transport of materials won't be as necessary. But still, don't think that your help is not needed - and indispensable - because you don't have actual construction experience.

The board is also calling for needed tools. If you have any of the following items and care to donate (or loan) them, please let us know! Donations of items are tax-deductible, of course:

1 Generator
1 Extension cords, 12-gauge
Ladders: 2 A-frame and 1 extension (28'+)
2 Wheelbarrows
Drills and drill bits/driver bits
Sawzall and blades
Circular saws and blades
Miter saw and blades
Hand saws
Levels: 1 x 96", 4 x 48", 4 x 9" torpedo levels
4 Framing squares, large and small
1 Plumb bob
6 Tape measures
Screwdrivers, set
10 Hammers
Box cutters/utility knives and blades
Axes, mauls
Pruning saws, polesaws

August 11, 2009

Old sweater = new Zen temple

A local artist, Jessica Cobb, is seeking your old sweaters and other woolen goods: sweaters, blankets, wool socks, shirts, skirts, cardigans, hats, gloves, leg warmers, etc. These items will be felted and used in hand weaving beautiful one-of-a-kind rugs. The rug sales will then support Korinji.

Community, friends and family are excellent resources. These materials can also be inexpensively acquired at local garage/rummage/lawn sales (sometimes for as little as 25 cents!).

Anyone interested in learning or participating in the craft can also help in ways which include color design/selection, material prep, loom building or weaving. It's a fun, fast moving project!

Donations are being accepted at Daiyuzenji: 3717 N. Ravenswood #113, Chicago, IL 60613. Please direct questions to Jessica by email:

Falling for Korinji

The 2009 Fall-a-thon, a fundraising event organized by Shinjinkai, the Japanese Martial Arts Society, was conducted on July 8. The result: more than $10,000.00 raised in two hours by 20 fallers!

Similar to a walk-a-thon, participants in the Fall-a-thon gather pledges from sponsors. Rather than walking, however, they commit to being thrown (via Aikido technique) as many times as possible in 15 minutes. The participant with the most falls got up to 431.

We're grateful every year for the amazing spirit and fortitude shown by these martial art students in support of Korinji; many of them are also participating in our work crews at Korinji, and so regularly give of their sweat and strength. If you'd like to make a donation in support of the Fall-a-thon, or just to learn more about it, please see the Fall-a-thon website. And here is a video clip to give you a feeling for the energy and excitement of this fundraiser.