Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Greetings from Babice, a village about 20 km south-east of Prague which constitutes my new home. Here the national sport is, allegedly, ice hockey, although participation is far greater in a much less violent sport: mushrooming.
Bohemia is a heavily forested land, much like the landscape around the Open Gate zendo, only hillier and with slightly smaller trees. It is an ideal envionment for the growth of mushrooms.
Back home in England by "mushroom" we mean a field mushroom, a white-topped thing with dark or russet gills - but here they mean forest mushrooms, some red-topped with spots which are good seating for gnomes but toxic for humans and others more edible but which look equally unhealthy.
As you can see from the recent picture of my kitchen, I enjoy mushrooming.
At present, this is my Zen practice.
The difficulty inherent in mushrooming is that where one mushroom is found is the place most likely to find others, so in finding one it is easy to forget to celebrate one's good fortune, instead immediately looking for the next.
In this environment, Zen practice is to focus fully on the mushroom in one's hand. Take the knife, clean the mushroom with one-pointed mind, gently place it in the basket...and only then look for the next.
Does your environment offer similar forms of Zen practice?
Posted by Michael Pockley at 11:46 AM