Beaver tails slap and echo over the quietly flowing water, through the soft pearl luminescence of the morning fog the song of donkeys comes crashing, like three ships lost at sea and searching for companionship and reassurance, birds punctuate the clouds and lace the valley with a net resonating jubilance. Buddha Root Farm, gradually, cautiously, emerges from the covering of night, shedding fog banks one by one until all that remains is a thick shawl of dew and the morning sun calling everyone out to the field and the garden.

      The home of Kuo Ying and Kuo Chieh (Bill and Peggy) Brevoort and their children Josh (Kuo Ken) and Gretchen, Buddha Root Farm gained its name in the summer of 1975 when Kuo Ying and Kuo Chieh hosted a weeklong session of recitation of the name of Amitabha Buddha. Bringing the Buddhadharma to this small benevolent valley in the Oregon coast range and establishing a Bodhimanda there has been the dream of the Brevoorts for many years. Their Dharma names combine to translate into English as "Welcome!" and with the summer session, they welcomed the setting down of Buddha Roots in Oregon. Before the week was over more than a dozen people had the Triple Jewel and over the years since many more have come to take refuge, join the Avatamsaka Assembly, participate in sessions, and teach at Dharma Realm Buddhist University—initially through their contact with the Brevoorts.

Shown are Kuo Ying, Kuo Chieh, Gretchen, and Kuo Ken Brevoort.

For many years Kuo Ying had searched for a teacher and had investigated many paths and dharmas. After he received his Master's degree in Fine Arts from Columbia University, he taught for several years at the University of Oregon. Realizing that art alone was not an ultimate dharma, Kuo Ying and Kuo Chieh took their children and spent a year at an ashram in Kootney Bay, British Columbia. The Yashodrar Ashram was a beautiful place, but no true teacher was found there for the Brevoorts.

Returning to Oregon, they found their farm near the headwaters of the Smith River, in a small valley that meanders casually towards the Pacific. There they set to work with zeal as organic gardeners and began importing medicinal herbs and teas from China, establishing the East Earth Herb Co.

"When we found this valley, it was as though we had been chosen to be caretakers for a while, in preparation for other people coming here to cultivate," Kuo Chieh commented.

However, still the Brevoorts hadn't found an ultimate dharma or a teacher. One rainy winter Kuo Ying read the autobiography of the Venerable Master Hsu Yun and dreamed of going to Asia in search of the Elder Master's successor as Patriarch. That spring, Heng Ju came bowing up the coast highway and the residents at Buddha Root Farm observed his vigor and concentration. Kuo Ying then went to Gold Mountain to investigate the source of this bowing marvel, bowed himself, and realized that his true teacher had been practically in his own back yard all along.

Since then the Brevoorts have hosted several Dharma gatherings in Oregon, working single-mindedly towards the establishment of a center of Buddhism in the Northwest. Kuo Ying says that the first time he saw their farm he realized it would be a perfect place for a Bodhimanda and cherished that dream even before they met the cultivators at Gold Mountain.

Kuo Ying and Kuo Chieh cultivate the soil so that someday they may provide food for many people. At the same time they cultivate their self-nature by being mindful of Amitabha Buddha. They use their herb business also as a vehicle to spread the Dharma.

Last October, Kuo Ying took the ten major and forty-eight minor Bodhisattva Precepts and with great perseverance rises every morning at 4:00 to meditate. He is also a visiting faculty member of Dharma Realm Buddhist University, specializing in the modeling of clay.

Kuo Chieh, aware of the lasting effect a solid family foundation can make not only on the peace and harmony of its individuals but also on the peace and harmony of world-wide relationships, in her strong but gentle way works to fulfill that goal in her role as wife and mother. With reverence and appreciation she incorporates the principles of Buddhism in her daily life.

Gretchen, too, has absorbed the Buddhist teachings from her family as, in her teen years, she searches for answers meaningful to her. She has become aware of the concept of filial piety, so important to all Buddhists, in a day and age when respect for one's parents is not in vogue.

Kuo Ken also heard the wisdom of the Venerable Master's instruction and at age seven made the decision himself to become a disciple. He visits Gold Mountain regularly with his father to participate in the Avatamsaka Assembly or join in sessions.

      With such strong sprouts already growing at Buddha Root Farm, and the continual planting of new Bodhi seeds, it will not be long before the Brevoort's dream of an entire Bodhimanda will come to fruition.