Skip to main content

The Lotus Sutra

In my dreams I received a silver o'kesa with red stars. A teacher help me put it on and it felt too tight. My old teacher sat at his seat and called for help. His robes where shredding as he sat there. Even in my dream I knew this o'kesa was the wrong color for me. Red is generally a forbidden color; silver is not the color of your first o'kesa.

Then the sun was up and I slammed into the manure pile with tractor bucket. How many flies! I turned water on for our garlic and crushed the shell of a snail. I thought she'd be okay but with a gush of fluid she lost her grip on the standpipe and tumbled down into the grass.

The temple wants me- or needs me- in the fields and in the zendo. There's tension there. The fields and the zendo aren't communicating like they should. The planting season is coming on strong, it will be here with 15,000 eager baby vegetables with just 12 hands to plant them in. Simultaneously we will harvest, go to market, manage water through trouble shooting 7 acres worth of 40 year old irrigation pipes hidden under clay earth. The pumps are relics from the 50's. We get them going with our hearts and ears- there's a sound we shoot for to know that the pressure is right. It's intimacy, not intellect, that allows us to run them. Who knew? It's a kind of compassion and a kind of begging.

And the dark zendo, an old barn with a 16th century Manjurshri from China and a chunk of mastodon from our fields, sits. This is it, this isn't it, and what is it fall like dust motes in the candle light. When we chant, we try to find harmony. It's up, it's down, it's you, it's me, stomach and ears come together to make one voice.

We don't really know what we're saying but we say it anyway. We don't really know how to bow but we practice everyday.

What should I say about the Lotus sutra that the Lotus sutra doesn't say itself?

Comments

  1. I myself can't get over wanting to Be Someone and glitter and get Stars! Ah, well, the writer's temperament.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want... you can't see if you have all the glitter and stars... maybe it is not a matter of getting over, but of getting clear

      Delete
  2. "through constant grieving their minds became clear"

    of the physicians children in chapter 16 of the lotus sutra

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How To Become A Zen Monk (or die trying)

"Now, if you have decided to become a monk because you think that life in this world is too hard and bitter for you and you would prefer to rather live off other people's donations while drinking your tea - if you want to become a monk just to make a living, then the following is not for you." -Kosho Uchiyama
So you want to be a Zen monk or priest? Unsui, which means clouds and water? Good on ya. Me too. 
Having googled that very aspiration for the first time in 2003, I was convinced it was impossible. I'll admit I am as thick headed as they come. I was also resistant to meet some figure in a robe. I heard my father's voice when I begged him to get my fortune read in Jackson Square, New Orleans, "I'm not paying some fat asshole in a bathrobe to tell you lies." Instead, for the first four years of my Zen practice, I committed as little as possible to my local sangha, left when they started chanting, and never talked to the teacher. I was so unapproacha…

Boredom and Buddhism

To say I feel bored feels disrespectful. How could that be? I have a three month old daughter, I'm training for a demanding job in the temple, I'm a wilderness medic responding to incidents every 4 days or so, and I'm sewing my priest robes for ordination. And I have this sense of disinterest.

I have a few theories as to why I feel bored. One could be the natural come down from having the baby and becoming stable in our schedule. Another come down plays out in the adrenaline crash after responding to a medical emergency or the general up keep work I do at the temple when compared to fixing something crucial to operations. When I hear there's a fire in the area I'm pretty excited to be mobilized for stay and defend duty. I feel pretty guilty about that, too.

So I read Beyond Boredom and Depression by Ajahn Jagaro and I was reminded to be careful about looking outward by this passage:

So what is boredom? It is a subjective experience that occurs when the mind is not i…

Vows and Compass

Being in new Orleans reminds me that my way seeking mind ripened here. Maybe it was the level of maturity my father's recovery actualized. Maybe it was the Ben Wren book I found at Beaucoup Books on my lunch break. Maybe it was my step mom's copy of things fall apart by Pema Chodron sitting in the bathroom.

Later I would witness the host of suffering post-katrina offered to a young public school teacher. How could I help? I took my first set of vows not really knowing where they would lead, like the old black metal compass my dad put in my Christmas stocking when I was about ten. Beautiful to hold, difficult to understand.

Now, years later, I feel a bit subdued as form,sensation, perception, impulse, and thought tag everything, beckoning some purchase for the price of belief. I'm home, but a home leaver. People wonder when I'll move back and being a home leaver means being ready to leave home again and again, which could mean coming back.

How will I actually engage all…