Skip to main content

Blood Blister On A Callus

I have a blood blister on my callus on my hand! I don't know how it happened. I don't know how that even happens. Spring is here and the cover crop is nose high. We're scything it in and turning it under. We already have about 12 beds of baby lettuce planted. Nine new apprentices show up today. I start my third season on this farm, in this long valley that opens up to the big lagoon. The bobcats are out; I've seen two. The newts are hunkering down for a dry summer. Coyotes howl, owls call out in the morning. On our way to the Zendo, my teacher calls out to them, startling me with her young energy in the dark and misty 4am fog.

We closed the practice period yesterday after a seven day sesshin. We shouted OM HOMAGE SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA over and over and over as our sangha bathed the world honored one on his birthday. Precocious little statue of a boy in his underpants pointing to the heaven and to the earth after taking 6 silver steps. Or was it 7? Or did he just start scrubbing the 6 tusked white elephant after he fell cleanly out of his mother's side?

There was a lot of Zazen this winter. Period after period, letting the shoulder blades melt down my back, letting my face fall like a baby's face. Feeling the body hang like a coat on a hanger, feeling the mind undulate like a white sheet over a ghost. We emerge from our old barn zendo fresh faced, a little skinny, and ready to get our hands in the dirt. The days get longer and I can barely sleep with so much excitement.

And I don't know about reincarnation or rebirth, but I know if I have the choice when my time comes, I will choose this pivotal human form again and again. I'll pick up and carry the vows for as long as I can and weather the seasons of this saha world.

Comments

  1. nodding... you speak behind the words about that which is behind mind...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cetan? I think what you said was complimentary, but I admit some confusion! Anyway, thank you!

      Delete
    2. Hi! I need to explore feeling driven to become a monk.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

We Are The Ones Who Can Die

This is me hunting hogs with a semi-automatic weapon. This was a past life( about 8 years ago.)

A lot can change in 8 years.

I grew up around guns. I received my first when I was 10 years old. I went to a high school with a shooting range in the basement, for the high school competitive rifle team. My dad, a career Marine, gave thorough instruction, you better believe. And for most of my life I could take them or leave them. I wasn't into guns like a lot of my friends, but I knew how to shoulder a carbine so the shell didn't eject and hit me in the eye.

That was in Pennsylvania. New Orleans was a completely different scene and the reality of gun violence really hit home (sometimes too literally). I have friends who have been shot in street violence and in combat zones. I have been threatened with a weapon and I have loaded guns with a notion of self defense.

And I used to believe that it was my right to do so.

But today I'm sad and I want to touch that sadness. I lost my …

The Transformation of Ceremony

Ordination Day

I want to say something about the transformational aspect of a ceremony. Like wine to blood, from person to priest, practice enlightenment as transmogrification. Like cucumbers to pickles, surprise! 
I underestimated the ceremony. After pursuing ordination for nine years I had visualized it into nothing. Having junior monks pass me by, then disrobe, then put the robe back on before I even got to wear it once lent a sobering perspective. Imagination dispensed. I sat and stitched and lived practice in a way where oryoki wasn't a treat, Zazen wasn't something I could talk about, and robes started to have gravity- they were not without weight. 
And I think that's the first element of my ceremony: a period of discernment and someone to discern with. In the case of ordination, my teacher, our tanto, and other priests served as mirrors and sounding boards for these two questions: Why do I want to be a priest and what is a priest? It was about as clear as wine tran…

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…