Skip to main content

Maybe It Started in Dagobah

It's been a couple lifetimes. I'll start in the now.

I'm staying at Austin Zen Center until July 11th. I've found a new teacher, and I couldn't feel more at home. It's a completely different student-teacher relationship, one with more talking- one with more love- and I don't mind getting used to it. I'm going to try and stay away from a compare and contrast view. I could do that for the rest of my life, and all of it's so obvious in my mind- the first thing that comes up. I'm Kosho's student now, and were in the Suzuki lineage. I've got a lot to learn (or un-learn?).

The sangha is so open hearted and talkative. Lots of questions! Usually they start with how did you come to Austin, followed by how did you start practicing Zen?

Beginning, middles, and ends can be tricky. On one day, the beginning is five inches to the left of middle, and on others, it's 10 feet away. Sometimes I see my entrance into Buddhism as the day I started reading Siddhartha when I was 18, some days it's when I started meditating in martial arts, some days it's when I officially sat Zazen 6 or 7 years ago, and some days it when I first went to a Zen temple for traditional zen training. But when did I notice my way seeking mind?

I want to go way back to a dark and boggy place, in a galaxy far, far, away. I was 6. This was before I took first holy communion, before confirmation, before my stints with pentecosts and Jehovah Witnesses...All master Yoda had to say was, "Luminous beings are we... not this crude matter." and I opened my eyes.  I couldn't see anything, but I started looking around.  

This I would consider 30 feet from the center.  I wonder if underneath it all I just want to be a Jedi.  But, I think just like everyone's reason to come to practice, it's just a seed. When we sit Zazen, we have no idea what were watering, but just because we can't see the flower, doesn't mean we let the seed die. 

I think we just like to garden. Hear water, feel dirt, that sort of thing.

Comments

  1. I remember a poll I say somewhere that asked something like "What brought your to Zen Buddhism?"

    One of the check boxes was "Jedi was not available."

    I checked that one too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so happy you shared your blog with me, and that you called me today. I can't express to you how happy I was when you asked for my number - it's a funny thing to have someone from your past that you respected very much come back into your present. I look forward to visiting here often.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not …

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…