Where the Dragon Gains the Water

Where the Dragon Gains the Water tells part of the story of the founding and construction of Ryumonji (Dragon’s Gate) Zen Monastery. The tale is told in recorded interviews offered in both audio and transcribed forms.

Six major figures involved in its planning and building provide first hand accounts of their Dharma lives and the nature of their contribution to Ryumonji. Additional photographs of other individuals present an opening to understanding the large number of people beyond those portrayed in the book that provided work, funding, and spiritual effort in realizing the dream of Ryumonji.

Includes book and and unabridged audio CD of the interviews.



Shoken: They were tearing down an old Hardee’s in Decorah, and all their kitchen equipment was going out.  I got wind of that and went down to talk to the guy, an old guy, and bought all that kitchen equipment for a song. He said you’re getting a good deal, and the grease comes free. So we had a lot of grease removal work periods.

DV: What other deals did you get?

S: The other deal was all the timber used in this kitchen residential building. This came from an old grain mill in Decorah that was being torn down. All these floor joists here on this main floor (in the Kuin), some of them are like 24 foot long 2 x 10 floor joists that were taken out of this grain mill. These are full dimension timbers and probably Douglas Fir. We took them out of this grain mill and spent two winters pulling nails out of them during sesshin work periods. But all that was great, you know, it was great effort, it saved money. But it also was a great effort, a lot of people just getting on board with everything. And then Steve Zieke gave us  kind of a propane tank and cut off the bottom and welded a loop on the top and that became our first bell. We built a bell tower for it.