Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Goodbye Green Gulch Sama! Hello Tassajara!

About two years ago I left Mid City Zen in New Orleans. I feared I was leaving something, and now I'm about to leave Green Gulch and that same fear has arisen. I imagined there was wealth, a sort of freedom, and a lot to "renounce."  I had a car (a fast one!), a playstation 3, many books, many articles of clothing, and as I look around our little cabin, that same perception has arisen- I have too much stuff! And I like it!

My book collection that I sold or gave away in New Orleans has somehow manifested out here. And I have quite the collection of farm hats and farm boots. Rubber ones, Redwings, Ropers, Bogs to the ankle, Bogs to the knee, a navy seal Solomon for the wet spring weather. Most of them are fit to throw away, glued back together and stitched with fishing line, and just so smelly, so smelly my wife won't let me keep them in the cabin, so I hide them all around Green Gulch.

So I started packing, and while that fear of renunciation has arisen, it's not the same. I'm noticing I've been here before and thinking when you really leave home, you are home, and there is no home leaving. And at the same time I'm prone to fall in love with people, with land, with statues and the cats that play in their shadows. Coming home to a tradition, to a temple, poses a challenge to those who aspire to have no fixed abode. Maybe that's why it's required around the three year mark that we go to Tassajara. And maybe that's why I'll go abroad after Tassajara. I don't know where.

In my third season on the farm, as Jisha for my teacher, as cabin mate to three wonderful people, I have never, ever, ever, been so happy as a human. While it seems there was no reason to really come here, which would also mean no reason to really leave, I wouldn't trade the gifts of food, dharma, and no fear for all the enlightenment in the world. I wouldn't trade Sangha for anything. Living day in and day out, trying to be upright, trying to uphold the schedule, fold my legs into lotus, and just bury potatoes has been my profound awakening. Always feeling like my body and mind are about to blow away like leaves in the wind (Read: sore, injured, tired here), pushing fifteen hour days, and just meeting my peers, my elders, and the guests has been my real training. Keeping good friendships, approaching peace with those "fri-enemies" and being in relationship to others has been my training. Zazen and work and chanting are the details. The struggles the real food. And true dharma companionship, just continuing together, is my practice.

So, with one box of books and one pack, I'm off to our secluded retreat center for two years at least. We'll see. I told the farm I'd come back if they ever needed me, but it looks like some apprentices are going to step up and hold it down, and I'm thankful for that, because actually, I'm a little tired from the farm work-my right foot, my left hand, and lower back hide pain under muscle and activity. At night and in the morning, they scream. Then they get real and do what needs doing. So I'll be happy to just sit and be on general labor, washing dishes and such, for the first six months at Tassajara.

I'll write here when I can. I haven't written much here lately- maybe I'm tired or maybe I don't feel like what I have to say is an improvement on silence. Either way, no internet for me at Tassajara. If you want to write me a letter, I'll write you back. Goodbye internet sangha!

Send letters and snacks to:

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
39171 Tassajara Road
Carmel Valley , CA 93924 

1 comment:

  1. Be happy my young Nephew..I will write as the spirit moves me....

    ReplyDelete