> Report: Shrine Dedication In Indiana
Derek
Posted: May 31 2005, 11:04 AM
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The Indiana trip was an incredible success, far more than anyone expected.

By planning months in advance, we were able to get direct flights to Indianapolis for $200 round trip per person. The only downside was that it had to be a red-eye flight. We got on the plane at midnight. By the time we staggered off the plane, everyone was bone-weary from lack of sleep.

Bill, the new Shrine Master, had succeeded in getting press coverage for the event. On Saturday, we were excited to discover our plans for the next day on the front page of the Indiana Living section of the Indianapolis Star. This was the major newspaper in that region with well over two mllion readers in total circulation.

Bill's kids were adorable and took an instant liking to everyone from the group. Bill's daughter Rebecca said aloud that it was interesting how she did not feel the least bit uncomfortable as she normally would with strangers. We were strangers, and yet we weren't.

Bill told us she had already declared her intention several times to inherit the shrine from him. "I don't think she's quite understanding that when she inherits it from me, it'll mean I'm dead, but that's okay." He said, grinning.

My responsibility was to give a couple of talks the next day. Bill had asked me to talk about why the Tao was not a religion. He understood the concept completely, but had a tough time explaining it to people.

He felt it would be quite difficult to explain it in a way that would be easily understood and entertaining to boot, but he trusted that I would be able to pull it off, which I thought was having way too much faith in my limited abilities.

Inspiration visited and gave me several good ideas for the talk. I worked on it during the week, and spent hours on Saturday writing it out and going over it several times, to be sure I wouldn't leave out any important points.

On Sunday, a lot of people came. I was especially delighted to see the Blake family -- George, Carol, and George's teenage daughter Amanda. They had driven three hours from Michigan just to be there with us.

I was a bit nervous starting the talk, because it was a new setting and a new group of people. That nervousness subsided after a few minutes, and then everything flowed freely. I could see that everyone was definitely responding to the message and having a good time.

I mentioned the Initiation Ceremony. I stressed that it was not a necessity to cultivate the Tao; it was merely a symbolic welcome into the Great Family of the Tao. People should only go through it if a strong intuitive feeling tells them to do so.

Later on, the ordained masters told me over a dozen people decided to undergo initiation. They couldn't believe it. We had all guessed perhaps a few people would be interested; no one expected this result. I had known the talk would be special -- I could feel it as I was writing it down -- but I had no idea it would elicit such an enthusiastic response.

On our way to the airport, Bill turned to me and said, "We did it. We really did it."

"It was probably one of the most unusual gatherings Indiana has ever seen," I said, thinking that the entire state was a stronghold of Christianity.

"Yes, it was... miraculous," said Bill. "People are starving for the real Tao out here. It's a spiritual wasteland."

"Is it really sinking in yet, what we have accomplished?"

"Oh, I think it'll be a while before it hits me all at once."

I knew what he meant. At the end of this exhiliarating yet exhausting process, we were all numb from fatigue. On Monday morning, we all got up at 4 a.m., checked out of the hotel, dragged ourselves to the airport, returned the rental car, and boarded the 7 o'clock plane back to Los Anageles. We had trouble keeping our eyes open.

And yet, at the same time, we were also smiling the smile of contentment -- the satisfaction of a job well done, the joy of connecting with others and sharing the Tao with them.
   
Jazztao
Posted: May 31 2005, 06:08 PM
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Congratulations Derek and Bill!
   
Zach
Posted: May 31 2005, 06:16 PM
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I only wish that I could have participated in such an event. good job guys!


--------------------
It is better to travel well than to arrive.
- Buddha
   
~mu
Posted: May 31 2005, 08:10 PM
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Well done. Welcome back.
   
Bill
Posted: Jun 1 2005, 06:43 AM
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I never in my wildest imaginings thought we would see the response we did. The I-Kuan-Tao is virtually unknown in the Midwest, so at best I figured 20 people including my family and the group from the temple. We had at least that many in addition to the previously mentioned group! It was without a doubt an extremely intense and demanding schedule, especially for the group from LA who lost 2 hours flying in to Indiana, and who spent countless hours over those two days doing everything from chilcare and cooking to conducting the rituals and initiating the new members. I've prepared one of several articles on the event itself that I'll be sending to Derek shortly, but let me just say in short, that I have the the movement of the Great Eternal Tao, and no one in my house will ever be the same. I would admonish everyone here at the Tea House with this example,

When faced with exhaustion to the point of falling down, combined with being mauled and mangled by a two year old who wanted to play dolly with the Buddha, in 80 degree heat, dragging three children through two grocery stores, and an import store, and a fairly grueling schedule of events and being packed like sardines into my van on multiple occasions so that we could all drive around while I figured out where we were, (I have NO sense of direction whatsoever), with all of the demands for time, money, attention, and the obligation to teach and help a houseful of strangers, this group of people, remarkable, beautiful, simple, and powerful people found it within themselves to exhibit complete grace, perfect poise, and the complete picture of the Great Tao without exception. I have seen what it means to truly live what the I-Kuan-Tao teaches.

When we find in our hearts the spirit of contention or strife, when we attach ourselves to desires and notions, let's remember the absolute selflessness of these 8 people who made a miracle happen in Indianapolis..

smile.gif

Thank you Derek, and everyone else as well.
   
Zipp
Posted: Jun 1 2005, 08:13 AM
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This temple sounds like a wonderful place and I am only 4 hours (or so) north in Michigan. Hmmm, I smell a roadtrip!.

   
Bill
Posted: Jun 1 2005, 08:43 AM
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Groovy!
Drop me an e-mail (bill@indianataichi.com) make plans to visit the school and eat well!

smile.gif

   
Derek
Posted: Jun 1 2005, 09:49 AM
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This journey, from conception to completion, started back in July of last year (2004). Bill had a business trip to Los Angeles, and wanted to visit the temple while he was out here.

I was excited. I had been talking about the Tao and the temple on the Internet for years, and this was an opportunity for Bill to see for himself that everything was exactly as I said. No exaggerations, no misleading statements -- just the plain truth.

I called him at his hotel to arrange for a pick-up. "How will I recognize you, Bill? What will you be wearing?"

He described his attire, and then said, "Don't worry, you can't miss me, I'll be the biggest person there."

He was right. As I pulled up to the hotel, I saw this amiable giant who stood 6'8". Powerful in stature yet gentle in disposition, here was a fellow who was proficient in devastatingly effective fighting techniques, and yet at the same time also a man of peace who was unwilling to hurt a fly.

On our way to the temple, Bill talked about his search for the genuine Tao. "The ones I've found so far in the Indiana area turned out to be profiteering ventures or thinly disguised New Age people."

"In that case, you sure came to the right place," I told him. "When we get to the temple, look around, talk to the people and ask any questions you want. Your feelings will let you know if you have found the path for yourself."

Later on I would realize that my last suggestion to him was totally unnecessary. A lifelong Tao cultivator, Bill had already developed a powerful intuition. He knew very well what was authentic and what was not, and he was more in touch with his feelings than many people I knew.

"I would like to be initiated," he said at the temple at around noon time, after participating in the morning meeting and the mid-day ritual.

"You're sure?"

"Oh yeah." He was calm yet emphatic, as if he was never more certain about anything in his life.

At the end of the initiation ritual, I congratulated Bill. "Welcome to the great family of the Tao," I said, "we're done."

I was wrong about that. We were far from done. I had no idea, but things were only beginning to get interesting...
   
Bill
Posted: Jun 1 2005, 11:22 AM
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How true, how true......

At every end in this story there is a beginning as well. My initiation was the end of a lifetime's searching, and the beginning of genuine practice. The establishment of the shrine was the end of one dream and hope, and the beginning of a new phase in a life's work. I can't wait to see what happens next!

I should point out that none of this would have been possible without the gentle guidance, mentoring, patience and compassion of Derek, Janice, Master William, Master Chen, and so many others who didn't see an enormous American standing in front of them, they saw a soul who's only desire to be one with Tao.

My Sifu said over and over that it was impossible to teach Americans, how easy it would have been for any of the people in LA to have said that very thing and summarily dismissed me, instead, I was welcomed with open arms and now share the work of bringing the Great Tao to America.

I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere smile.gif