Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Renunciation (Again)



We, home leavers and home makers attaining the way, are renunciates, says Reb Anderson. And we're giving up what doesn't make us happy, says Koji, my dharma brother, friend, and roommate.

Which is apparently a lot of stuff for me! I've been here before, too. Before I lived at Mid-City zen...I mean, before my wife and I turned our home into Mid-City zen, invited two zen priests to move in, submitted to the practice container of zazen and ceremony and sangha in the house every day, I lived at New Orleans Zen Temple. And there I had a stack of books and some zaboutons to sleep on.

How many books did I actually need? Where did that big TV come from? Why do I have 38 t-shirts and 53 pairs of underwear?

I'm down to the small stack of books you see in the picture. I had 4 book cases full. Big book cases, too. I have 11 t-shirts, all my best ones- which means I gave up every single punk rock or comic book on, covered in stains and holes. I've got good Zen student t-shirts now, left over from a season of rangering in East Texas-brown, green, tan, grey. I've got 5 work pants, and 4 pairs of dress pants. 3 ties. 10 underpants. 12 pairs of socks. 4 sweaters.

And all of it looks nice, hides my tattoos, blanks my slate, so I can be approachable. But my hair is getting long, because I'm not cutting it until my teacher does! It's a bit of strike; maybe it will get so unruly, he'll have to ordain me sooner.

You know, renunciation is so rooted in memory. I can't actually see what I don't have anymore. I actually don't "feel" like I've given anything up- it's more like trading- for lay robes, a beach, some mountains, a farm, the teachings, dark quiet mornings...

So I don't think I've been successful, since I "have" all of the above.

I don't even want to tell about all the kimonos, obi, robes, samue, and zen gear I have, or worse, want!

Hopeless!

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