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Showing posts from October, 2013

Night Dreams and Daymares

The dying Buddha in sleeping lion pose, the posture of dream yoga. 
I'm going to tell you four stories:

Last Sunday I was training our practice period crew to take care of the farm stand. The farm manager was away so I went in early and made a check list of the farm stand transmission. I also made a quick work list, as 6 students would be joining us for Sunday chores. Things went smoothly, aside from my awkward double and triple checking of directions I had given. Everything was moving right on time; the students had to be finished setting up by 10am so they could attend the dharma talk. After we loaded the food, scales, and table clothes, we swung around to transfer baskets from Boxy, our big market truck, to Babe, our little blue farm truck. Boxy wasn't at the office, so I told the students not worry, go ahead to the farm stand and I'd be back with Boxy, who I thought would be down on the farm. I checked the packing shed, no Boxy. I checked the kitchen garden, no Boxy. I…

Vote For Liberation!

Marijuana isn't actually marijuana and it doesn't matter if it's legalized or not. That's not what we're talking about. 
We're talking about liberation. 
It reminds me of bubble gum in schools. One day, our dean said to give a detention to anyone chewing gum. By the end of the first week, I had issued 50 detentions! The other teachers had done the same to include about 250 students. 
The students comradely reveled in their sentences, meanwhile the bubble gum market shot through the roof! We thought we could sweat the small stuff, and that's the same argument as targeting the gateway drug. By sweating the small stuff you create a culture around small stuff. The untucked shirt is a gateway to poor posture which is gateway to chewing gum which is a gateway to talking back which is a gateway to failure is the way that logic works. Despite the karmic randomness we would witness everyday, we really believed this. 
Eventually bubble gum became boring and a non issue. 

Cellos and Brass

If someone says you're arrogant, how could you argue without arrogance?

At the end of the season, apprentices and staff shared first impressions of each other. Dangerous conversation, but a sort I look forward to- here's the fruit of being elbow to elbow for six months or a year...a little truth from someone who loves you. This is the sangha.

I'm arrogant!


The only thing that feels right is to bow, head to floor, and hold the twisted stomach. Of course I didn't know!

But everything has two sides, one side arrogant, one side confident. Other's might find they're aware, but critical, contemplative but withdrawn, outgoing but not reflective enough.

Cellos and brass, some of us are a lot of that sad drone of a cello, some of us are that celebratory blast of a trombone.

When I speak, I tend to speak too much, say, overfilling the tea cup. Too much brass.

I'm equal parts sorry and content. There's no way of shaking this skin bag off. Finding out I'…

Bury His Heart In Your Heart.

One of our Abbots was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. There is no stage 5, he said. He gave a dharma talk last night and sang Blind Lemon Jefferson's words:
Feelin funny in my mind lord I believe I'm fixin to die Oh funny in my mind I believe I'm fixin' to I don't mind dying but I sure hate to leave my children crying
He's a lot of things to a lot of people, but I know him like this: I was standing at work circle and this mountain of a monk asked to see my harvest knife. What does this abbot want to see my harvest knife for? I hand it to him; it's caked with clay and mud, the edge rusting just over night from being put away wet. He hands it back, says nothing. Next week, he shows up at work circle with two brand new steel brushes. End of story: my harvest knife is clean and sharp, 7 days a week. He never said anything about it to me. I didn't even have to try, I just knew what he meant. 
Despite his pain and diagnosis, he'll continue to a…