Sesshin is over! Don't ask how it went. We hate that question. But read my sesshin poem:
Branches bloom white plum blossoms
Five pins hold these fragile robes
Die! Die! Die! Die! Die!
It's not like I wanted to write a poem like that. If there's a way to fail sesshin, I did.
But it's more complicated than that, because it was also beautiful. Always beautiful to sit side by side, day after day. Counting the breaths is following the breaths is just sitting is the perfection of wisdom, that's the heart we go in with. Chanting in harmony while coyotes scream and laugh in the hills, and somewhere even closer a small animal dies loudly; what is it, what is it, what is it?
What is it, this craving? What is it, this discipline that won't allow me to steal a cookie? What is it, this ability to crash and steal peanut butter, to masturbate instead of watching the mind?
I've tried to watch the mind while practicing self gratification. I'm not sure that's possible. I'm sure someone is skillful enough to do with the support of 10,000 Buddhas facing the wall, but not this guy.
So, I bring myself before the teacher and express my embarrassment, express my disappointment at my practice. She says, do you hear your practice working when you say embarrassment, when you say disappointment? She quotes the Eihei Koso Hatsugannmon:
By revealing and disclosing our lack of faith and practice before the buddha, we melt
away the root of transgressions by the power of our confession and repentance. This is
the pure and simple color of true practice, of the true mind of faith, of the true body of
How spacious! Seems like there's room for everyone. I say, I can hear Suzuki Roshi's "Just to continue practice is your practice." but admit I can't feel it. I just feel plain bad.
She encourages me to just feel plain bad and rings the bell. Some how that makes me feel good.
What is it?