Chan Master Xinzhou E’hu Dayi ( a practitioner in our lineage). Emperor Xianzong (r.806-821) once called for a debate to take place at the Linde Temple in the Palace. A Dharma Master asked, ‘What are the Four Truths?’ The master [Dayi] replied, ‘There is only one “Di” so where would the other three be?’
Happy New Year
I went to David’s art exhibit opening. Great to see the vulnerability leaping out of the creations on display. I especially liked a photo of giraffes head and neck emerging from ethereal diaphanous cloth. Io as a central piece in a Capella musical offering, drawing me in to share my own vulnerability in song. AHHHHH. Ehhhhhh.OoOoOoOo. Claire and Luke engaged in dialogue, like some Dadaist salon revisited, screaming “We ae talking. Engage! Engage!”
I was listening to a podcast toady. Glenn Loury interviewing Michael Sandel, the author of “Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” They talked about the divide growing within our country, the haves and have-nots, the financially “successful” and the financially “unsuccessful,” the “educated” and the “un-educated,” the superior and the inferior. They recognized that there will always be the 10,000 differences amongst people. And that the hubris of the successful is destroying our community. The “successful” feel that they deserve their privilege, while the “un-successful” deserve their misery. Imagine a Sequoia looking down upon the fungal rhizomes interpenetrating its roots and feeling “superior.”
What has this to do with our Zen practice?
Chan master Mingzhi of Boyan in Ding Zhou (Hebei) (a practitioner in our lineage) once saw the Venerable Yueshan reading a sutra, so he said to him, ‘Venerable monk, do not let people prostitute themselves for the good.’ Yueshan put the sutra down and said, ‘What time is it?’ ‘Just about noon,’ was the reply. ‘There still seems to be some cultural variety here,’ said Yueshan. ‘This fellow has nothing either,’ said the master. ‘Elder Brother is good and intelligent,’ said Yueshan. ‘This fellow is just so, how about the venerable sir?’ asked the master. ‘Crippled, with a hundred infirmities and a thousand shortcomings, so the time passes,’ said Yueshan.
Nice words. Nice words. How does this relate to our Zen practice?
Yes. Yes. That and that too. Are you off in your heads thinking? That’s OK. And won’t last forever. What are you feeling?
How does this shed light upon our Zen practice right now?
We have recently begun the processes of Jukai and Tokudo for most of our Sangha. In most Zen centers, you don’t get to practice with the zagu until you become the head monk in an Ango (90 day retreat). Issan and I, crippled, with a hundred infirmities and a thousand shortcomings, are sharing everything that we have been given with anyone and everyone who attends. Opening our mouths and spilling our guts to reveal our raw hearts. This feels right for me. There is no superior or inferior. It is each individual dancing the dance FOR the Sangha. How would we ever dance without being allowed to feel the music in our bodies. Issan and I will support you. Even when we cut the rug out from under us. As you support us by jumping in. Jumping in with your vulnerable hearts, a la David and Io and Claire and Luke. This vulnerability is the very process of creation, emergence from emptiness, that is Tokudo and Jukai.
I had a dream last night: I’m at a gathering with music and dancing. I’m dancing having huge fun and feel very young. I leave the dance and I’m at a school that feels like college, yet I’m only 8 years old, as are many of the other students. I’m racing across the grounds with some friends to a class on the second floor of building. We get upstairs late and take the time to carefully unlace our boots. Go into class that has already begun, led by a white-bearded man who welcomes us warmly. The classroom is an old room, and it flows into vast pastoral scenes of woods and meadows and rivers. The man is telling us “Enjoy, take in every moment, with every sense. And there is something else that is quite important. Does anyone have a sense of what that might be?” I respond, “I do” and he acknowledges me. As I get a couple words out, other students begin to interrupt and even argue with me. My 4 year old girl (I am a four year old girl in another dream, solid grounded powerful relational) comes up strongly in me. I’m not angry, just solid and grounded and say to the students “I just ask that you allow me to finish what I say, and then I will be quiet.” They stop talking, and I say “Diligence. Whatever it is that I take in in the now, take it in a hundred times, a thousand times, and see and feel all the various aspects.” The man is smiling at me and nodding his head.
“What are the Four Truths?” The master replied, “There is only one [insert your name here] so where would the other three be?”
poem – Zenho
Seeing a turtle atop a fence post
Wondering how long they held their breath
To bury the fence post beneath
The surface of the pond
And where the hickory had grown
And what was the name of the horse
That carried post and diver
And how hot was the sun
AIIIEEEEEE cannonball with shell held gently against bare belly SPLASH
MONDAY, 6:30AM, ZAZEN AT TEA HOUSE, DAVID OPENING
MONDAY, 7PM, DREAM KOAN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
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WEDNESDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
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THURSDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN & SERVICE AT THE TEA HOUSE OR ZOOM
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DOKUSAN WITH ISSAN SENSEI
FRIDAY, 6:30AM: ZAZEN & SERVICE AT THE TEAHOUSE
DOKUSAN WITH ZENHO SENSEI
8 DEEP BOWS
Zenho (Author of today’s Bog) & Issan