Sunday, December 18, 2011

One year in the OBW

One year ordained and I've already killed the teacher

It's been a year now since I was ordained in the OBW. The first months I tried to figure out what it meant and what I was going to do about it. People asked me if I was going to start a group or begin teaching in some way or other.

For some (most "zen" people) it was very difficult to understand that I wasn't a teacher until a student would recognize me as such. There was even one zenmonk that asked me how I should be "treated", throwing away with one question all her years of practice.

I didn't start any group, nor am I going to do it in the future. The fact is that I'm no teacher at all, I don't feel like one. What I do have been doing is writing with friends, sometimes meeting and talking. And this is something I consider very important, to have the oportunity of sharing a path and a practice that for me is the most important in this life.

It is in this sharing that the teacher can appear, only when we both are the students. As long as we can listen and give us to that listening, the teacher has a chance. Otherwise is just a name, a title, an empty word.

The breath, my other teacher

During this year I've also turned back to the practice on the breath. Doing an active work on it, one can easily find ease, comfort, joy and pleasure in sitting meditation, allowing so for longer meditation periods and a mind that is more receptive to explore body, feelings and ideas as they present themselves.

I know, many of you won't be happy to hear this, being so fond of non-doing. But I firmly believe in the process of construction that meditation is (one day I may explore how much construction is there in "emptiness", "non-doing" and "egolessness"). Maybe a quote of mister Gotama can help me here: "The path to freedom is a path of development and letting go"

Ending the year on retreat

Soon I'll be on my anual solitary retreat; think of me when you're celebrating Christmas, because I'll be doing jhana. This is the third year I'm allowed to do it in the same house, so it's turning a tradition now.

Finally, just let you know that my blog do jhana is back on track.

Whishing you all a peacefull end of the year.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Ordination Poem

Ordination Poem
Jikai Seido

The drum beats slowly,
My heart beats quickly.
Three of us in procession.
The red cedars sway above.
Sunbeams light the way.

We rest in each step.
The hushed, small zendo
Sits tucked tightly in its
Shaded bower.

The windows have been removed:
Who knows where the inside
And the outside begins and ends?

We take our seats.
Warm honey light
Fills this tiny space.

Friends and family peer
Inside through the spaces
Where the windows had been.
Zen fishbowl.

The hot, sweet breath of
Northwest summer forest
Wafts inside,
Carrying softly the words
Of our teacher,
Into our hearts.

We are given our
Bowl, staff, and dharma name.
The forest trills with birdsong.

This moment will stand forever.
And someday, when we
Three dojin, teacher, and sangha
Are long gone.
Ferns and nurse logs will cover
the path we once took.

The vows taken here today,
Now, in this moment,
Will live here in zazen,
Buried in the seeds and carried
By the wind.

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Path

Yesterday a student suggested that Zen might be a path towards a "coma-like state". This was an interesting observation - and considering the way Zen can be used, perhaps in some cases his description was right!

This got me thinking about the Heart Sutra and why, for me, it is more liberation than lobotomy. I came upon the term, "No path." Zen is about living in the present moment. If you are walking "No path" then every step of the way you are expressing a preference. Forwards? Backwards? Sideways? Stop? With no path to follow, you choose.

The rest of Zen is just a support mechanism for ensuring that every step of the way we really do express a preference, and not just get jerked around by cravings.