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Showing posts from October, 2012

Tangaryo: I'll be home for Christmas.

The farm is quiet; the sprouts of purple vetch have started to come up in the kitchen garden. 8 months have passed. One of the first jobs I did on the farm was take a scythe to some cover crop. Now it grows again.

Many new students have arrived. I've noticed some intense faces, some confused glances. Bows that look like karate chops. Tangaryo, the practice of all-day-no-bells-sitting, starts this morning. Tangaryo is an old practice, something we do in order to enter the temple. I imagine us transformed by this evening, one way or another. 
I go into this practice period a little heavy hearted; I'll miss harvesting kale, walking down those long rows under the sun. And I have no idea if I'll work on the farm next year. I also haven't heard from my teacher, and I hope he's doing well, or more honestly, that we're doing well. No building up or tearing down here- just raw observation. Alive or dead? We will not say. 
As I sit here, wearing my robes for the first ti…

Season's End

Yesterday morning, the bell rang. The Ino said, "We'll now have the closing ceremony for the farm and garden." I had forgotten, completely.

We shuffled out, came back in, lead by our Farm and Garden managers. We did prostrations and stood on the tan, to hear the words of our elders. They said they loved us, commended our great effort, and that's all I remember.

From top to bottom, left to right, Farm elder Emila, Tanto, Jeremy, Farmer Daniel, Farmer Emma, Farmer Kathrine, Farmer Bret, me, Garden Manager Lauren, Farmer Jeren, Gardner Lauren, Gardner Claudia, Farm Manager Sara, Farm Manager Qayyum. 

We howled like coyotes. We can harvest 100 pounds of spinach in a 1/2 hour. We can plant 15,000 little plants in a half day. And we opened our hearts for Bodhisattva seeds, spreading from elder to apprentice, from apprentice to apprentice, and now out into the world.

We also love each other like no crew I've ever been on!

Were actually all staying for practice period. It…

The Dark

Heavy hearted, filled with dread, I sit in the dark late afternoon, wondering when it got so dark again, not feeling up to it, this practice period, these 6 months of dark winter days less than a week away.

I've returned from my sister's wedding in Pennsylvania, where I lived off brownies and pizza and beer for 5 days. I showed up and said yes, despite the crying fit I had just before leaving Green Gulch. I said yes to the fatty food, yes to the all day flow of coffee, yes to my uncle's terminal cancer, yes to my mother's cigarettes, yes to my Grandmother's criticism, yes to my brother-in-law's campfire, yes to my little brother's bike ride through the mud, and yes to my little sister's tears.

Now I'm back at Green Gulch, saying yes to the practice period, yes to the farm for the last couple days, yes to a little vacation with my wife, yes to my ordination, yes to my teacher's absence ( I haven't heard from him in over 20 days) and actual…

Grass Writing in the Sky

We watched as Reb called to Sobun Katherine Thanas, who took the great leap on June 24th, 2012. He said something like this:

For our great, abiding friend
. . .
Who is passing from this world to the next.
She is taking a great leap.
The light of this world has faded for her.
She has entered solitude with her karmic forces.
She has gone into a vast Silence.
She is borne away by the Great Ocean of birth and death; May she, together with all beings, realize the end of suffering, And the complete unfolding of Buddha’s Way.
We followed the procession of old teachers, lead by Reb in his gray okesa and gray koromo, the others draped in black and brown.   The shakujo, the six ringed monk's staff that sounds for all sentient beings, each ring representing one of the six realms, crashed, followed by two solemn bells until we reached the hill side where a tree would be planted. We all chanted while shovels were passed hand to hand and the roots of the Live Oak were covered. Family, dharma s…