Obligatory picture of majestic animal completely necessary- If you don't understand, you better ask somebody!
The practice period kicked up with tangaryo,Parinirvana, opening ceremonies, and I was swept away. And now, swept away again- independently studying Lankavatara, while taking Jeremy's (the Tanto) class on Genjo Koan and Fu's (the leader of the practice period) class on the three trainings. In addition, my practice leader and tea teacher is away in Japan, so tea ceremony is on hold. I've been thinking about retiring from calligraphy, also...I've put in a year, took about 6 classes, and it's fun but...not very alive for me. What is alive for me is writing, so I've been work shopping stories with an online writing community and in turn reading a lot more short fiction. Just short fiction for now. And of course, writing here.
I'm also hanging around our Ecosattva group a lot more. I'm learning about navigating the channels of activism through legal means; I must say, Deep Green Resitance's tactics were much more entertaining, and much more convincing if you're interested in rearranging the chairs on the deck of the titanic, again. However, paying attention to how to draft a letter to our board about devesting from Bank of America is my resignation to bury my hardly used monkey wrench. I'm resigned to practice and organic farming, pushing in ways that don't create more harm, and pulling up a lawn chair to wait for the petroleum apocalypse. I wish DGR the best of luck; they continue to help me decolonize my heart/mind.
The Lanka continues to challenge. I'm a third of the way the through. I've been taking breaks during interim and I'm not sure that's been helpful. Loosing that momentum makes it much harder to return to the study. I plan to push through after practice period until it's done. I move about 3 pages a day when I can find at least 2 hours to study. However, most pages are really,really packed with Dharma! This morning, I got to the part where the Lanka gives 4 reasons that the purification of the mind takes place in degrees, 2 reasons it happens suddenly, and 2 that are neither nor, and emphasize personal realization as the means of purification. Every time I read this sutra, I think this sutra is not what people think it is, like substantilist or "stage-driven." I also enjoyed reading Branching Streams Flow On in the Dark during the last interim, where Suzuki Roshi says that Jinshu's gradual approach is just as valid as Daikan Eno's sudden approach. It was all I could do from bursting into Tenshin Roshi's dokusan room to tell him the good news.
On a side and more personal note, Kosho and I have ended our teacher-student relationship. I feel a little heart broken about that and a little lost as I look around here and try and find someone. Ordination, which at some point meant so much to me, seems to be shrouded with formality, possibly privilege (like why is it going to take me three to four years to take novice ordination! I just want to wear the Buddha's robe of drizzle and dew!), and I'm just feeling really aggravated with this whole one teacher model, because I'm not sure it exists. I think if we're sensitive enough, we're being taught by all teachers, all beings, throughout time and space; I sit in practice discussion with Meiya and something is transmitted, I sit with the Lanka and something is transmitted, I get on the tractor and something is transmitted! So...what are we talking about when we talk about teachers with a capital T?
What do you think? Are these growing pains? Is this just another phase?