A few weeks ago, Zen River Temple was hit by a massive unexpected mishap. During the September weekend sesshin, the drainage pipes of the showers and toilets in the new wing were suddenly blocked. What started as a routine procedure of clearing the drains with a high-pressure hose quickly mushroomed into a serious - and rather costly - sewage drama.
We had always assumed that the whole building was directly connected to the local sewage system. But the professionals quickly discovered that the drainage of the new wing still went via old septic tanks. An ageing poplar tree alongside the ditch had grown roots straight through the concrete walls of these tanks which had then worked their way some three meters up the drainage pipes into the building. That means that if the old tree would have ever fallen, it would have brought the walls down with it. So, the large tree had to be felled, the septic tanks had to be removed, and a new connection with the sewage system had to be made.
A crew of strong workers came over to do the job with super-sized cranes and bulldozers, but they could only reach the problem spot from across the ditch. A long strip of iron plates was placed over the lawn of the neighbouring hill to make a road for them, while other big plates served as a bridge. For more than a week Zen River was a hectic construction site. Luckily, we felt in good hands with a very capable and friendly crew. They worked for long hours, while we supported them with lunch, and coffee with cakes.
Meanwhile, the local government officer - who came over to issue the license needed for cutting down the tree - saw the state of some of the other trees and determined that they had to be heavily pruned, especially the ones alongside the road. Partly due to drought conditions these last few years, they had been affected by disease and were in danger of falling into the road and onto the parking lot. The good news was that the crew could do this job too because their cranes and bulldozers were on location anyway. The bad news is that it adds to a total bill that goes well beyond our usual annual fundraiser budget, altogether 32.233
Materials and machinery: €16,213 (1.5 tons sand, 25-metre tall cherry picker, crane, steel-plate road, wood chipper, tractor, skip, drains, and fuel)
Labour for professional drain crew; €8,930
Machinery to fell one tree and extensive tree pruning; €4,940 (cherry picker, fuel, chainsaw, steel-plate road.)
Labour for professional tree crew; €2,151
This is the first time in the history of Zen River Temple that we are – out of the blue - confronted with such high expenses. Moreover, while the November Fundraiser is usually meant for a project still to be realized, this time it is meant to help cover what has already happened. In other words, it is a matter of great urgency. Of course, this renovation also makes for a great improvement to the premises. We see it as a long-term investment. Needless to say, every donation is highly appreciated!Within The Netherlands and Europe? Please donate directly to the Zen River bank account. We will register your donation on this campaign. IBAN: NL33INGB0009233632; BIC/SWIFT: INGBNL2A; Account name: ‘Zen River'
Donations above and beyond our goal will help finance projects that were originally planned for the annual November fundraiser. These concern the urgently needed insulation of the south wall of the new-wing building by a local contractor and the renovation of the leaking roof of the Inryo by our own maintenance crew next spring.
Zen River Temple
is an international Buddhist monastery founded in 2002 and located in the far north of The Netherlands. It is registered as a church which means that we depend on the generosity of contributions from members and guests who join the daily meditation program, training periods, and sesshins (retreats). For more information please go to www.zenrivertemple.org