New Buddhist center to serve as hospice

Buddhist monks Sho-San, right, and Yu-San listen with a room full of South Whidbey Buddhists as Shodo Harada Roshi speaks. - Matt Johnson
Buddhist monks Sho-San, right, and Yu-San listen with a room full of South Whidbey Buddhists as Shodo Harada Roshi speaks.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Citing several disturbing visits he made years ago to European Christian monasteries, Zen master Shodo Harada Roshi said he will establish a hospice for aging Buddhists near Freeland’s One Drop Zen Center.

The Roshi explained the hospice idea earlier this month during a dedication ceremony for Tinyblue, a new Buddhist center located within a few hundred feet of the four-year-old One-Drop center. Saying that during his trip to Europe, he saw too many aged Christian monks suffering, the Roshi pointed to Tinyblue as a place where Buddhist monks and Zen practitioners can live out their lives with the help they need.

Tinyblue is the first of what Kenmore philanthropists David and Cynthia Trowbridge hope to be a string of efforts by their private foundation — also called Tinyblue — to fund projects for religious, charitable, scientific and educational purposes.

“Eventually, Tinyblue may be a place where people in their final days can find solace and joy by being with others, including children and young people,” Trowbridge stated in an e-mail.

The 20 acres the Trowbridges purchased for Tinyblue include a ranch house, smaller home, several outbuildings, large pastures, and about six acres of woodlands. Trowbridge said he hopes to develop gardens and forest trails on the land. He also said the wide sky views on the property could be useful to children and teachers who want to observe the stars.

Tinyblue is not directly affiliated with the 60-acre One Drop Zen Center. However, the Roshi is involved the development of both. A Japanese citizen, the Roshi was on Whidbey Island this month to lead a retreat at One Drop and to dedicate Tinyblue.

David Trowbridge is a former teacher and physics researcher. He worked for Microsoft for eight years prior to his retirement in 1998. Cynthia Trowbridge has a background in teaching, hospice work and counseling.

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