The Buddha opened his eyes and smiled in North Central Chicago on April 25th, 2010. The Ancient Dragon Zen Gate sangha had been sitting in their new temple since January 2009, but the zendo had not yet been formally dedicated. Dharma teacher Taigen Dan Leighton joined his teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson; a Dharma brother, Taiyo Lipscomb; and Hogetsu Laurie Belzer to perform the Eye-Opening Ceremony in the presence of the ADZG sangha and guests from around the country.
On the previous day Reb led a day of sitting, giving two Dharma talks on the themes of cultivating great compassion and loving-kindness. Reb adroitly and movingly addressed questions put to him by students who sat before him knee to knee and eye to eye. That evening participants and other guests convened at a local restaurant for an informal and celebratory meal.
On Sunday afternoon, after the temple dedication, Reb gave a public talk at the Cenacle Retreat Center, a Catholic institution that had graciously served as a temporary abode for ADZG in the years before we located and were able to bring into being our new space on Irving Park Road. It was an opportunity to thank them again, and to be grateful both for where we have been and for a new place more carefully designed for the needs of our Zen practice. Reb's talk, on "Living for the Welfare of the World," continued and expanded on the themes of the previous day's Dharma talks.
In the years since our sangha has come together, especially after we succeeded in bringing Taigen from the Bay Area to be our resident teacher, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate has established itself as a small but serious place of practice, with an array of offerings in which we can delight. This delight can only deepen and flower now that the Buddha's eyes have opened.