Lulu and I received our invitations to Green Gulch Organic farm and Zen center. On our way we go, Feb. 8th!
People ask for how long. I figure somewhere between 6 months and the rest of my life;)
We'll actually be working on practice period crews, helping to support all the residents who are sitting with one of my favorite Zen teachers, Fu, and a very close friend and advisor, Reirin, who is Shuso for the spring. Reirin married Lulu and me in April:
So I ride to work through these old New Orleans streets and I wonder if I really know them and if I'll let myself know Green Gulch. Most of my time in New Orleans has been spent with eyes for some temple somewhere else...Antaiji and Green Gulch, mostly.
About 4 years have passed since I decided I wanted to move Green Gulch, but I had a really rough job in the recovery school district, I was in a bit of relationship distress, struggling and struggling and I had been warned that a monastery is not a place to run away to. So I stayed didn't really ask if what I was experiencing was so, but insisted that it wasn't, which wasn't helpful. Basically, I denied my suffering and acknowledged a misunderstanding of the "true dharma" and sense of non-self. Amazing! Actually, horrible.
But a lot has changed. Another "you need a teacher" plug, but changing teachers was the best thing I've done in the last two years. But I'm pretty sure I needed the first one to find the second. The first one said, "Head presses the sky, knees press the earth. Zazen is your coffin, don't move" and that was exhausting. And exhausted, I found Kosho, who said, "Soften. Open your heart, radically accept."
Not so tough these days. I was never very good at being tough anyway. Now I just show up, pay attention, tell the truth, be open to what happens. Such a relief!
But I'll miss our little temple here. We just got a big new bell. The new priests are settled and integrated into the sangha and we really enjoy living with them. I'll miss the Saints! And my Dad, step-mom, and baby brother. I'll miss these streets and old houses, too.