Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Practice Resurrection

As we start to harvest our first planting of the season, I have less and less to say, sleeping more and more, as we try keep up with what can be a beast of a schedule. Zazen, work, lunch,work,zazen, dinner, class, bed.

Who is this one that is tired and doesn't want to?

A guest was eating breakfast with myself and a long time resident and asked us how we did it, if we got paid, and if we got paid enough to retire. She said we don't really get paid enough to retire. I asked who actually retires around here? She said Daigan, who is about 82. He retired when he turned 70, which is when they ask you what you feel like doing. He's teaching a class next week. And then there is Farm Elder Emila, who is 70, and can cut lettuce faster than you can pack it.

How thankful I am to have a life that I don't want to vacation from. I'm not looking forward to retirement, I'm looking forward to planting, sitting, chanting. "I" don't go to sleep, it just happens, no coaxing necessary

The guest looked concerned. Retirement is for those who have the choice not work, she said. And I thought funny you end up here at the same table as me, sitting zazen at 4:30 am. 

I'm in a tradition that will except what I have to offer. Right now, that's a strong back. When I'm 70, maybe I'll still be cutting lettuce, maybe not. Maybe I'll wish I had built up a retirement, or maybe there's no amount of  money that can purchase the mind that doesn't worry.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.


  1. People who remain small and do small things can't do so much harm, either. Bernie Rosen refers to the bodhissatva going to the well for water, giving someone a teaspoon of water, going back to the well. When I first read that, I sheerly didn't believe it - is that all you do? But I had never experienced being mothered. Last week, our minister called to see how it was going with getting Tom's folks into long-term care. Just a phone call, a warm voice, but it was a teaspoon of water in the midst of a burning desert. (This also refers to your previous post.)

  2. "... or maybe there's no amount of money that can purchase the mind that doesn't worry."

    Ahhh, such blessings you have indeed.

  3. This post had me catch my breath... and another...

  4. Americans have a very complex relationship with work. On the one hand, hard work and a good work ethic are highly valued. On the other hand, the "goal" of a life of hard work is to reach a point where we never have to work again. Somewhat ironic, huh?