Skip to main content

One Continuous Mistake

First, so sorry about my polarizing posts, like the one below, where I speak from emotion and not generosity, tranquility, or anything nice. Katagiri Roshi said you have to say something, but did I have to say it like that? Sometimes I'm rabid. Shitsurei Itashimasu!

Second, I haven't felt like keeping up this blog. How much has been useful, timely, beneficial, true, and an improvement on the silence or the blank page? I don't know. But it's been a couple of years, and I don't feel like quitting, dare I risk the title of dilettante, again.

Third, the fucking honeymoon is over for me and my zen practice. Hard questions have arisen. Kosho and I have parted ways and my ordination is suspended, sort of, in that there is no one who has agreed to ordain me at the moment. Kosho and I parted ways on very satisfactory, very grateful terms, and I miss him very much; I just don't think I'll be going back to the south any time soon. He gave his blessings and said, "see it through." We will keep in touch.

Meanwhile, the farm comes alive. Little cotyledons poke through soil in the green house, cover crop grows tall in the field. We built a low tunnel and tried to get a jump on the season with some lettuce. The skies are clear, the clouds feathered from mountain to sea. You can hear the waves late at night half a mile away (that's no hyperbole!).

Meanwhile, I'm curious, walking with this lack of faith, staying close to my questions, believing no answer. The schedule of the January intensive ground my bones to dust, and I find myself under the weather, morose with enthusiasm for work and Zazen. I've been reading a lot, feeling creative. Lauren, my wife, is amazingly gentle and supportive. She's doing quite well in the kitchen and is only 9 days away from Jukai, a huge step for her.

So with a beginner's mind, with a is-that-so-mind, with an-only-don't-know-mind, I proceed. Sometimes sunfaced, sometimes moonfaced.


Comments

  1. It's all very curious, this life, this practice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Farmer monk -- What advice would you give to someone who came to you with the same concerns you have? I don't mean this in some touchy-feely, yummy-spiritual way ... I mean literally and personally.

    I've had a number of cage-rattling times in practice (you might even say suck-y). And I have not intention of putting some happy-ending period on the sentence. But one thing I have noticed is that each cage-rattling brought with it a more honest and credible grounding ... a kind of cut-the-spiritual-bullshit tenor. Not always pleasant or easy ... and yet lightening some unnoticed load.

    Wishing you the best.

    adam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Genkaku,

      I don't give advice.

      Thank you for your wishes.

      Bowing,

      Kogen

      Delete
  3. I shamelessly envy your greenhouse....plunging my fingers into the soil, the dark dead soft loam that is the very womb of life...it somehow steadies me. On my knees, the chaotic spinning slows.

    The world is frozen here, trapped in the ice, I ache for spring.

    One foot, then the other.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I so wish you would had a "gadget" to this page that would let me subscribe by e-mail. Then I wouldn't miss posts. I wonder if my bipolar is a very clear case of alternating sunfaced-moonfaced? Bright, dark.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To Become A Zen Monk (or die trying)

"Now, if you have decided to become a monk because you think that life in this world is too hard and bitter for you and you would prefer to rather live off other people's donations while drinking your tea - if you want to become a monk just to make a living, then the following is not for you." -Kosho Uchiyama
So you want to be a Zen monk or priest? Unsui, which means clouds and water? Good on ya. Me too. 
Having googled that very aspiration for the first time in 2003, I was convinced it was impossible. I'll admit I am as thick headed as they come. I was also resistant to meet some figure in a robe. I heard my father's voice when I begged him to get my fortune read in Jackson Square, New Orleans, "I'm not paying some fat asshole in a bathrobe to tell you lies." Instead, for the first four years of my Zen practice, I committed as little as possible to my local sangha, left when they started chanting, and never talked to the teacher. I was so unapproacha…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not …