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Showing posts from December, 2013

New Years and Near Enemies

In the dark there is the smell of Kerosene. The paths are dimly lit. Hands carry lotus lanterns down to the pond, voices chant the Avatamsaka sutra, bodies sit upright in the Zendo, and mouths eat soba noodles in these last hours of the year.

At 4am this morning, Myogen Steve Stucky died. As we went into the Zendo, we thought, how compassionate for him to die this morning, on this day, leaving us in the warm embrace of warm robes and warm company with the looming warm new year, a fresh start tomorrow. The obonsho rung out. I think of his redwood tree planted in a shady grove; I think of his family.

I was actually on the road, doing the last town trip of the year. Over the hills and over the Golden Gate to places I've gone almost every week for the last two years, rolling in our trusty box truck, hearing about the world on the radio. Hearing a song that reminds me of my mother and using some alone time to drive and cry. Back to the farm, I led some guest retreatants to build a comp…

"Zen Priest, What For?"

I show up to my in laws in a samue and mala, head shaved and stinking of Zen, but it doesn't take long to find me in a V-neck t-shirt, tattoos on my arms and chest blazing, drinking wine, eating brussel sprouts fried in panchetta, laughing and telling stories, listening to our 94 year old grandma explore wikipedia for the first time. And the cards eventually come out.

I love playing card games with my mother and father-in-law, but I'm not particularly engaged by card games. I much prefer nerdy, strategy games. Actually, I never played cards before I joined their family. Now I'm not so bad! But what I love about the games are the conversations that arise.

Mother-in-law says something like, "Zen priest, what for?"

Father-in-law says something like, " You need to know what for."

I begin to reassure them, that I'll go back to teaching, that I'll focus on helping spread dharma to teenage demographic, as I see there's not a real place for teenager…