May 24, 2010

A roof over our heads

The Korinji Foundation has issued the following appeal:

Dear Korinji Friends,

We've come a long way at Korinji. It was only in 2005 that the Foundation began, and two years ago that we purchased our land near Madison, Wisconsin. Now this year will see the completion of the first structure there.

All of this has been accomplished entirely with donations, and our land development and construction have been done entirely by volunteers. Truly, the power of our united community to accomplish the Korinji vision is awe-inspiring!

But we're far from the finish line. In order to create a place where sustained residential dharma practice can take place, we have a lot of work to do...and resources to gather. Right now is an especially crucial time: before the end of August, we must have the resources to complete our roof! If we fail to do this, then all our construction work could be exposed to the elements, potentially causing great damage.

We need you to accomplish this. Please consider supporting Korinji in whatever way you can. There are two ways to help right now that would benefit Korinji tremendously:

1. Sign up for a monthly donation: on the Korinji website, you can sign up to make an automated monthly donation of as little as $15.00 a month. Even $15.00 helps us tremendously, and will go immediately toward the purchase of building materials for our construction (of course a larger donation helps more!) If you prefer, you may also opt to make a secure one-time, instant donation of any amount that you wish. All of these options may be found here.

(Remember, donations made to Korinji are tax-deductible. If you usually donate a certain amount to charity each year for tax-purposes, why not do it now? You'll receive a receipt for tax purposes documenting your contribution.)

2. Support the Fall-a-thon: the Fall-a-thon is an annual fundraiser conducted by our friends at Shinjinkai, the Japanese Martial Arts Society. Students of the martial art Aikido get together once a year to throw each other, using Aikido techniques, as many times as they can in 15 minutes. Much like a walk-a-thon, they obtain pledges from family and friends for this. In the past, their amazing effort has raised up to $15,000.00 within two hours!

We need them to be just as successful this year, and for that to happen our fallers need sponsors. If you'd like to be a sponsor, please contact us: We'll match you up with a faller needing sponsors, and you can let us know if you prefer to pledge a certain amount per fall, or to give a flat donation. And please come to the Fall-a-thon on June 26th in Chicago! It's an exciting event to watch, and you'll get to see the remarkable effort and spirit of these martial artists first hand.

For more information on the Fall-a-thon, please see this site.

Thank you again for supporting Korinji in the past. Please also accept our invitation to visit us there during one of our "monastery work weekends": as we continue our work throughout this summer and autumn, we'd be pleased to show you our progress and give you a tour of the land. Progress is happening fast there, and it's a thrilling time to be involved in this project.

We look forward to seeing you at Korinji soon, and long into the future.

May 20, 2010


This past weekend at Korinji we were able to complete the final work preliminary to raising our walls, two of which lie already framed and ready for lifting.

Moss-covered stones also now line most of the trail leading from the parking area to the building site. It was a busy weekend, with a lot of rocks being moved.

We're now issuing an urgent call to action for Memorial Day weekend, May 29-30, when we'll be lifting walls! We very much need strong arms for this: a 60-foot long wall, even in sections, is enormously heavy. Volunteers, please contact Korinji:

If all goes according to plan, we're now on schedule to be enclosed and under a new roof by the end of August...

May 4, 2010

On deck at Korinji

The decision to cancel our last work weekend due to severe thunderstorms was made up for by the glorious weather we had at Korinji this past weekend. Bright sun, clear skies and flowering apple and hawthorn trees were the setting for two long, hard days of construction.

There were some dicey moments. We actually had rain and thunderstorms, again, on the Friday before. A few of us worked in a drenching downpour that afternoon to unload wood; our friend from the local lumber yard went above and beyond the call to help us get all our materials as close to the building site as possible. He paid for his kindness, however: the sudden storm turned our construction drive to greasy mud within minutes, trapping his truck. Another truck was sent to pull him out, which immediately became stuck as well. The third truck was the charm.

By the time the general crew arrived Saturday morning, though, all was well. That evening saw the completion of the deck. After sunset I pitched my tent there, determined to finally sleep in - or at least on - our new building. Come Sunday we got back to work early, and the end of the day saw the two long walls framed. In the meantime a trail-building crew had also gathered hundreds of stones from across the property, which they moved into place along the edges of our woodland paths and at the base of the hill, where the largest may form stone steps below a future gate.

Thanks as always to all our dedicated crew members. May is a busy month, with two more work weekends to go: the 15th and 16th, and then the long Memorial Day weekend (29th-31st). It's also now beautiful camping weather at Korinji; we hope to see you on-site, and around the camp fire in the evenings.

We've added a video clip to the Korinji website (and to YouTube) showing this past weekend's progress, here. It shows something of a time lapse: I shot about 7 seconds of footage every hour or two. We'll stick to this format throughout the year, so that by fall we can edit together a longer video showing the entire season's progress.