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Showing posts from January, 2009

Does the Roshi like carrot cake?

What kind of birthday cake does a Roshi want? I made him a carrot.

Actually, I made two, double layer, 8 inch carrot cakes. The last two are baking and will be done in half an hour.

I used a kitchen aid mixer cook book. I think this is the first cake I've made from scratch.

Frustrated, I struggled to make good time. I started baking these cakes at 9pm and it's going for 1am, and I haven't made the icing. I expected to be good at baking.

My dad was a marine for 21 years and his M.O.S was cooking. He's an accomplished baker, trained at Johnson and Wales. He whips up gourmet goodies on a whim. No matter how late it is on a saturday night, he bakes his muffins for Sunday mass. I expected some of that experience to rub off on me.

Am I trying too hard to make this Sangha party successful?

The genmai was watery today.

I struggle to be the teacher I want to be because of the teacher I need to be right now.

I'm surviving in the New Orleans Recovery School District where my classroom management consists guerilla tactics. There is no discipline program-there are reactionary measures, but there is no discipline. We attempt positive behavior support, but that consists of what the teachers can afford, and in a district that doesn’t pay you on time (or like this week-the wrong salary), that’s not much.

I know that when I build resentments, I shut down. When I start noticing how indecent everyone is, my Bodhisattva attitude goes right out of the window, and instead of helping, I start thinking- what is help? Am I helping? Could I possibly help?

The long answer to that is: no. I often feel like I’m a storm trooper. I work for a for-profit charter that is making money off of the poor, while pushing a state standardized test that I see de-skilling our work force, let alone depriving citizens from a real educa…

I will go to work, I will go to work, I will go to work.

I went to work.

I'm done being vague- who's going to find me out? Maybe I want to be found. After reading the last few posts, I realized I'm protecting the organizations I belong to. And who knows, maybe there is nothing to protect.

I have three lives right now- I'm a teacher in the New Orleans Recovery School District, I'm a resident at the New Orleans Zen Temple, and I'm in A.A. I've been teaching for almost two years, at the temple just as long (as a resident,5 months), and sober for three months. When I'm not grading papers, sitting zazen or doing samu, or working the 12 steps, I like to take a Bikram yoga class. I'm also studying for the GRE, which I'm not completely sure is worthwhile, but since my students are so test focused, I wanted to join them in their anxiety. It's not the same though, because my studying is going well and I don't expect to do well on math. And there are no stakes. My anxiety comes from elsewhere.

For instance…

10 Original Dharma Heirs

I left work early yesterday. I was sitting in my office, staring at curriculum, and the sun was so bright outside. So I left, went and sat in the park, near the water, near the geese.

I woke up today, sat zazen, but could not breath. I couldn't keep my legs together either. I felt nauseous. My head pounded. After ceremony, we had our breakfast ceremony, and the genmai was too thick, too hot, and I was the one who prepared it. It wasn't my turn and I woke up late, but someone must have woke up even later, because he never made it to the temple.

After breakfast, my head still hurt, and I was feeling grey. I called in and said my eyeballs hurt. I didn't say that much, but I said I didn't feel well. I skip a lot of work.

Jeff and I talked about our teacher. I walked into the office the other day and said hello, how was your day, and he responded, "Don't bother me with that shit, I'm busy."

I should have said, "What are you doing here? Don't you have …

Zen Master Came to Town.

Roshi came today. I was standing at the door of the zendo, waiting to hit the han, and there he was, looking wan, and dressed in black. I shook his hand and didn't say a word. Jeff, the other zen temple resident, looked like he saw his own wraith. Of course, my roll down on the wood was filled with nervous energy.

Durning zazen, I kept thinking- did I leave my cellphone on? Then I heard his familar voice during kusen, "Head presses the sky." So I forgot about it.

After ceremony, he mimicked our weak chanting and told us to be louder. He told me I played the mukugyo too fast. During mundo, I asked how we are supposed to take refuge in the three treasures and he told me that I sit on my Zafu crooked.

Perfect. Afterward, I felt inspired by his presence. I started editing our edition of Deshimaru's Hannya Shingyo. I watched Empire Strikes Back. I melted choclate chips and peanutbutter and mixed it with cereal.

Now I'll study for the GRE and get ready for bed.

I think I ne…