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Showing posts from April, 2012

Six Tusks, Side Born, Clean As a Whistle

Earthday ceremony on Sunday morning: Chanted the Loving Kindness Sutra and The EnmeiJukkuKannonGyo for protecting the life of our planet. Listed all of the endangered species (from plants to fish) too.

Later, in an overview class of Buddhism, we hear the stories- six tusked white elephant enters the womb, baby falls out of the side of his mother, clean and undefiled, never hits the ground, takes the seven steps, declares who he is.

Later, someone says, " I really liked this morning's ceremony- so real- chanting the names of endangered species. But then we get this stupid story. I guess all religions have this silly stuff."

I say, "I'm open to six tusked elephants and these stories. If this is conscious construction only, maybe consciousness was different in the Axial age, so projections were different. Buddha sees Buddha- if Buddha doesn't see Buddha, then maybe it is silly stuff."

She says, "Yeah, except when these stories support misogyny and patriar…

"Just make sure you're not sedating Van Gogh."-Dalai Grandma

A response to Dalai Grandma's most recent post on Vincent Van Gogh:

They tried to medicate me, too. I was 8 yrs old. I don't talk about it much. Held me back in kindergarten, and I failed 4th and 8th grade, but they said hey- military or construction? And filed us off to various little alcove rooms where kids with severe "issues" were kept.

Then I snuck into college, plopped into teaching, and was asked to do the same thing to little kids a lot like me. In 4 years, I never sent any student outside of my classroom. Some left on their own accord, kicking and screaming, but most settled. It was beautiful.

This came up yesterday in our crew meeting. We had to write something that no one would ever guess about us: I was held back in kindergarten, I failed 4th grade with Mrs. Sexton, and I failed 8th grade English with Mrs. Answeeni. They didn't hold me back because I was already in sped classes, so who cared?

Is this what is called a past life? Feels remote, feels like a…

Turning and Tilthing

Farmer monk
salt of Dogen's Zen
coyote howling heart
frog leaping mind
cut by scythe
turn by spade
rust with the tractor
and trading skin for dirt
become earth again

Eat fast, shit fast,sleep fast. The farm is a good ways from the zendo, kitchen, and restroom. Time is a little more precious and your gear needs to be good to go by the time work meeting is over. Boots and new socks need to be accessible. Rain gear should be on your back or within reach. Hands should be ready to push, pull, lift, tear, and the non dominant hand needs to catch up. Train the wild elephant!

Yesterday, in clear weather, we planted a Bok Choy bed. In about 3 weeks, We'll turn it over and plant it again. Before this, we built on a compost mound- 200 gallons of food, some rotting, some from yesterday, collected from Green Gulch and City Center. First, straw- then food, then green cover crop. Each layer spreads out like lasagna- and you get to see what you ate- bright purple beets, gritty yellow polenta, creamy …

Opps, I ate some bone meal!

I've been transitioning to the farm since Wednesday. I've left the beautiful guest house, where I tiptoed barefoot, folding delicate hospital corners on beds and delivering warm bread to Green Gulch's guests. Now, aesthetics are out the window! Our farm manager pointed this out from the ridge, where we stood at our first reservoir; the garden has neat, beautiful beds. We don't.

We cultivate approximately 10 acres of the 110 that houses G.G. We use a biodynamic/French intensive approach, which means planting close hexagonal patterns and using a lot of organic material for our soil ( 1/16 of the definition). Soil composition is our first objective! We don't use petro-chemicals and look to plant cover crops and use symbiotic relationships with bacteria and other organisms to lock nutrients into "bodies" and therefore stabilize those nutrients so they doesn't wash away. This looks like planting a cover crop of legumes, which pull in atmospheric nitrogen, …

In other news...

I have a great new practice leader:

My first teacher wrote me a letter and we're reconnecting after 2 years of silence.

Tomorrow, I get to spend the day with my teacher:

I'm helping sew my teacher's Mountain Seat Kesa

I love my five fingers.

Farm season starts on Wednesday (This is our lower field)

My Hair is getting long. By the time I ordain, Pocahontas pigtails.

Practice period is over. No more Oryoki:

Today is the Shuso Ceremony for my long time friend, inspiration, and officiating priest, Reirin:

"Father, mother, forever you wrestle inside me."

Master Sergeant James Edward Keith

Patricia Ann Provenzano
She's strong, olive skinned, waves of black hair. He's upright, Semper Fi, high and tight, green camouflaged.
We sat in front of the fire for a very long time in silence. Her hands, folded neatly in the universal mudra, started to fade into her black robes as the sun went down. This silence was so loud!
Bird, frogs, the bonsho bell, the han, the fire, feet scurrying to Zazen, and we were already sitting, facing each other, just me and one more person willing to dedicate her whole heart to this practice, giving freely. After about twenty minutes, I ask, is it possible to improve this silence? What is timely, beneficial, and true?
She smiled, and said, "Well, coming from an introvert with an affinity for the 15th century, no, we don't have to say anything, we can just sit here."
I wanted to know about our stories; what do we do with them, how is practice benefited by investigating or releasing whatever concept…


Wake up at 3:10 am.
Sew. Make coffee.
Sit at 4:45 am.
Sing refuges, drink hot rice drink, sleep at 9pm.
Eat rice and use the bathroom with great vitality.
This is the courage of a Zen monk.