The Conditions that Arose in Camping Meditation

The Conditions that Arose in Camping Meditation          by Andrew M.








Things arise when the conditions are right. I’m not sure why it took me so long to find Dharma Drum Mountain, but when I was ready I did. And Dharma Drum Mountain's community was ready for me. It was a foreign and mystifying experience to feel comfortable with the idea of camping meditation for a weekend with a group I knew by brief acquaintance. But I felt comfortable and I went.

The experience was humbling. I had never been in such a genuine, lighthearted and selfless group of people and I desired to be a contributing part of it, to be like them. The Big Sur landscapes were breathtaking; the food was wholesome and prepared with love as a community effort. Each member of the group was open and welcoming in a distinct and endearing way. From many teachers, I got glimpses of the nature of Chan.

Any suffering I experienced in such an environment could only originate from one place. So, with the courage newly instilled by the practice and group, I looked within, receiving timely and appropriate insight from my teachers throughout the process.

I met the confluence of proper conditions in Big Sur, in Dharma Drum Mountain. And I can say without reservation that my experience of life since then has been continually new and newly illuminated. This is coming from a combat deployed United States Marine Corps Infantry veteran diagnosed with complex, chronic PTSD, for what that's worth.

My teachers and friends at DDM will always have my humble gratitude. The camping, hikes in Big Sur, Chan discussions and meditation practices opened up a whole new realm of inexpressible experience and self-realization for me.