Monday, March 24, 2014

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?


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

    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

  2. "through constant grieving their minds became clear"

    of the physicians children in chapter 16 of the lotus sutra