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Writing and Regretting!

I've just seen Elephant Journal publish an article called How To Survive A 7 Day Sesshin. Turns out I wrote it! I've survived my first editors, but I suspect they added typos! I won't say anything else about the huge crystal behind the Buddha they posted with my article.

The editors didn't add typos of course, but it reveals some truth about the nature of my mind. It's always an other that's putting the butterflies in my stomach. Actually, my stomach just breeds butterflies. When I open my mouth I puke them out by accident. In the case of this article, they escaped through my finger tips.

Having a submission accepted (it's only happened a few times for me) is almost as bad as having a submission rejected. When I'm rejected there this hope I can try again. When I'm accepted there seems to so many things I left unclear, and there's a concrete example of me. I tend to always disagree with the phenomenal expression of me. 

So much has come up; my senior dharma brothers and sisters will see this! My teachers will see this! Why did I do it?

Well, at least I know that. I've always known why I write. It comes from the same place I pursue practice from: dissatisfaction. When life passes by, I sometimes have a tough time feeling it. Writing helps me engage. When I'm writing about dharma an intimacy is cultivated. When I write about anything intimacy is cultivated with myself.

Like the Lankavatara says, words aren't so serious anyway. Like footprints in the dirt, they lead to the wild animal. When you behold that wild animal yourself the footprints in the dirt aren't so interesting anymore.


  1. "my senior dharma brothers and sisters will see this! My teachers will see this! Why did I do it?"

    Yep, that's come up for me sometimes as well. Everyone from our head teacher to near strangers in my sangha has seen my blog over the past four years. Occasionally, someone will come up to me at zen center and say "I read your blog recently..." and I'm thinking, "oh, boy, I hope this isn't trouble." Usually it isn't, but I'm good at "stirring up things."

    Yesterday, I gave another dharma talk for the Sunday service. Always an interesting experience.

    All of it is practice in letting go of what others might think, including what you might think about it.

  2. Yeah! You know, I'm about 5-7 years away from ever being asked to give a dharma talk. At first, you're like what's the big deal about giving a DT? Now I'm already conceiving of ways to wiggle out of it. Especially at GGF, where you'll have your teacher, your teacher's teacher, and a picture of Suzuki roshi staring at you.

  3. kogen, your 2009 posts are dharma talks ! the further one gets into zen, the less functional one becomes in this respect until one dribbles nonsense thinking it sense and no-one is fooled except yourself :o(

    ok, here's some "dharma wisdom" you are all going to reject , but be that as it may..........

    I have never seen it mentioned but it's very important to grow out of zazen and sesshins, you should have grown out of them within about two or three years, if that hasn't happened you are moving too slow and below the speed necessary to get critical mass for "fusion" so to speak !

    zen has degenerated into some glorifying of the "process" as an end in itself, but really zazen and sesshin are just stages...........

    there's appoint to it all, but the quality of teachers these days is so bad that people just muck around in some stupid haze, blind and getting blinder :o(


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