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Showing posts from September, 2012

Cupcake in the Abyss

Last night, in the Wednesday Dharma talk, I asked a question, and people laughed while I was asking it.

People generally laugh whenever I speak in public or small group settings and I'm usually confused and fear I am completely unaware of how I'm presenting myself. What's worse is that it's very distracting from what I'm trying to say.

It doesn't help when the Ino makes a comment like, "He knew the answer to that question." and people laugh more.

Dark sarcaaaassaaam, in the classroom?

Because actually, I didn't know the answer to my question, which was about choice, karma, and could be summed up to can we go about practice wrong? I was hoping the answer was no. I don't even remember the answer at this point, but I did hear this: Bow, and do what you need to do, and that was helpful.

Of course I didn't just say, "Hey can we go about practice wrong?" It took me 8 hours, 6 hours of sleep, to get there.

Then this morning, in the Zend…

Anger: Rage is Blinding

I was in the kitchen garden, the 2nd field, sowing purple vetch into a bed I had cleaned out for the season's end. Half way through, the farm manager asks me to run a set of irrigation; I'm annoyed; this is my life as an irrigator, on call plumber, always interrupted to manage water.

I head down to line 46 in the 4th field, a line that I have a history with. This line is an archaic dog eared type, so there's no real latch on each section of pipe to keep it together. It relies on pressure and water and gravity. And immediately, there is a blowout at the head.

Water spews like an angry wave, it's hard to get close to. I shut it down, open another line to relieve pressure, and see that we have a cluster fuck, despite the beautiful day. The beautiful blue sky, the rolling coastal hills, and our crops decorating the valley in dark green and red brocade.

I see that the dog ears have slipped, as usual, and this whole 200 ft line needs to be disconnected and reconnected if …

E-mail to E-mail Transmisson

Over at Full Contact Enlightenment is a great post on dharma relationships on the internet. Inspiring!  About 80% of my teacher-student relationship happens online, while I pursue very traditional Soto Zen training. It’s like this: My teacher, Kosho, leads the Austin Zen Center in Texas, but trains his students where he trained, Zen Center in California (Green Gulch, City Center, and Tassajara). This a requirement for ordination. So, I see him about once every 3 months, and we e-mail once a week. We would skype, but our internet is weak out on the farm. This e-mail to e-mail transmission of the dharma has been criticized as lacking the nuance of a hossu, a fist, or a staff (body language). However, I have a couple years worth of questions asked and answered, there for reference, in addition to listening to his dharma talks as many times as I need to. In addition to this relationship is my extended sangha in the blogosphere. The Dalai Grandma has seen me through many phases. Dangerous…

In and Out of Darkness

One word: Exhausted. Mondays go like this: Wake at 3:20am, study until 4:30am, get dressed in black, find my rakusu, find my zafu, find my breath; Whisper over the shoulder from the dark, "practice discussion," climb down off the tan, gassho, gassho, and stumble out and sit with a bell. Listen for the teacher's bell, return the sound, gassho, gassho, climb the steps, gassho at the door, open, three prostrations in front of Guan Yin, step right, gassho, and sit, and stare, into the stitches of the kesa, and relax. We see what's there, and he asks, "But what is the question beneath this question? What is the question that makes this alive for you?" Truth balks at introspection, I say thank you, bow out of the room, back to a cushion, and sit. At 6:30am, we chant, "Great robe of liberation, field far beyond form and emptiness, wearing the tathagata's teaching, saving all beings." Into ceremony, prostrations in the dark, ancient twisted karma in t…

Suffering is Super Sized

A blogger friend asks the question, "Is suffering optional?"

"Yes" resounds from some place. But yes is a partial truth, too. It not being optional works also. I'll talk about that next time. For now, this post is about how it's optional.

Suffering is extra, it's sneaky, and it's hard to pass up, just like getting your meal super sized. Maybe that's not relevant for you because you don't like McDonalds, but if I go to McDonalds it's very hard to pass up the super sizing. You're paying just a little extra. Sometimes you feel like you deserve the super size option because you have pay at all, and you go for it. Suffering is the same, especially if we keep taking the drive through in Samsara.

How do I know this? Because I suffer! I managed to suffer through a Dharma talk last night. I suffered when I was teaching in the public school system. That's besides the point, since everyone is suffering from their two-eye view of the world o…