Monday, December 10, 2012


And Merry Christmas! Oh wait, those aren't sleigh bells, that's the shuso ringing the bell in what most people in the free world call the middle of the night.

Practice period is over, or it should be, and since Rohatsu ended yesterday, we are dragging out the days. Trudging these last two days to happy destiny- the 32 monk practice period, in addition to the senior staff that have lead us, have been going for over two weeks with no hosan (a day off!). We have the shuso ceremony tonight, a nice dinner, and closing ceremony tomorrow. We hope to sleep in on Wednesday, but this has not been confirmed, and we collectively fear we will go until Friday.

Meanwhile, it's time to make compost at after 7 days of sitting, sitting, and more sitting.

I wrote a poem to sum up my rohatsu:

Stay calm
while the vultures pick
at your spare rib back
and chew on the sinews of swollen knees
while pecking at brittle bird wing ankles.

Stay calm
when the wooden floor turns thin as paint
and the wall flickers like  dying flames
and the body hollows to a stencil of
fragile lines.

Stay calm
staying calm helps keep calm
upon the painful black throne 
tangled in the coils
of ancient dragons

jaw grinding mind gather!
Of no satori
no kensho
no makyo
Just the dust of ivory teeth

Can't wait to do it again. 

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