Thursday, September 29, 2011

No self

I was able to finish Invoking Reality by Daido Roshi while on the plane and can sum up the entire book with the phrase "No self."

The book went through the precepts and explained them in the wonderful Loori fashion. Deep valleys, steep peaks and light hearted fields. I have been reading also Aitken Roshi's The Mind of Clover which is very similar, however much more academic.

Over and over again the phrase of no self rose to my mind. In applying the precepts and understanding their application to my practice it seemed it fit them well. However, this can be misconstrued and seemingly over simplified. But practicing true no self is not anything of the sort. More so coming back to your true nature when your mind wants to cling tenaciously to your self nature.

I especially liked the discussion on actualizing good for others. This phrase has always challenged me. Never really clear on how to it's application. Seeing the three pure precepts as a the reality of the grave precepts was excellent. Also the usage of the teachings of Bodhidharma in comparison with Dogen also helped to see both the practical and philosophical sides.

Started reading Uchiyama's From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment.  Hoping for some clarity on samu and applying work practice to life.

Unexpected stop in Nashville

There was a flurry of activity with the flight attendants grabbing the medical kits out of the overhead bins. This was followed by an announcement asking if a medical professional was onboard. 
30 minutes later we are on a very quick descent into Nashville.
After the medical personnel came on you could feel a breathe of relief in the cabin.
A few minutes later the wife left the plane followed by her husband in a wheelchair. He was alert and actually even carrying his own IV bag. From the time they announced our landing until he left I silently chanted EJKG for him as well. My row mates probably are regretting their seat choice although I did notice out of the corner of my eye the wife next to me say a prayer with her palms pressed.  Was nice to practice with her.

Metta to that gentleman and his wife. Life always likes to keep things interesting with little regard to our foolish plans.

The Lady in 8D

While getting on the flight, the lady sitting in the seat in front of me was in obvious pain. So much so that the flight attendant asked her husband of there was anything that she could get her. Apparently suffering from a sciatic nerve issue.
Fortunately the seat between her and her husband was open and she was able to lay down in his lap. I was moved to tears watching how he cared for her and her distress. I had been reading at that time from Invoking Reality on acutalizing good for others. As such, and feeling her and his pain I put down the book and alternated between zazen and chanting Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo and metta for her.

May she be free of suffering, may she feel safe and still.
May she be free of enmity, may she be loving grateful and kind.
May she be healthy, and at ease in all her ills.
May she be at peace, embracing all conditions of life.

May we all...

Off to the Monastery

Set out this morning to Zen Mountain Monastery. Pretty excited about going to the home of so much amazing teaching. Also, it feels somehow like a pivotal point in my practice.  Like heading home after a long trip.
I am waiting at the DFW airport and thinking thoughts of metta to my friends and wife. They are facing a direct example of impermanence. They received communication today that their jobs are in danger. Their company, Nokia, has been suffering for some time. As such they are consolidating resources based on location. Dallas, once a major center, is now rebuilding and their jobs, global in function are not essential to that regrowth. The open questions are many, as are the speculations. However one thing is certain ...much can be learned. Good and bad are all perspective and staying with the moment, as it truly is, is of critical importance. 
As I continue on to New York they will be in my thoughts.

Deep bows.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ango 2011 - Day 27

  • Morning Zazen (30 Min @ 1pm)
    • Well I suppose this wasn't "morning zazen" but was the first zazen of the day.
    • Leaving on a trip to Zen Mountain Monastery tomorrow and so lots to do today.
    • Work therefore took precedent this morning and had to wait on zazen.
    • However!  I was able to sit with 5 others on G+!  Two of whom aren't Treeleafers, just random Buddhist guys.  
    • Today I sat with Peter, Don, Bob, Soen & Louis.
    • I also did 30 minutes of suizen afterwards which was wonderful.
  • Shakuhachi Practice
    • Today's shaku practice was suizen.  
    • Was wonderful because I find that when I play after sitting it's so peaceful, so effortless and so goal-less.
    • Things come much more naturally...and when they don't..they don't. Absolutely love it.
    • Contacted my sensei, Jon Johnston, and asked if he had a copy of the notation for Yoru no Uta...sure enough, about an hour later I was set!
    • Spent a good part of the day practicing the first two 'stanzas' of the tune.  Just love it.
  • Practice Partner Exercise #4
    • The PPE for Treeleaf this week was to do the dishes.
    • Sounds simple, but they have to be done by hand, mindfully.
    • While doing them I had wished I hard read Instructions to the Cook by Dogen first.  Too much to do, too little time.
    • Took me about an hour and a half to do them.  The first half was great.  Just reading each dish and being very careful and mindful of what I was doing.
    • The latter half I picked up the pace.  I had wanted to get it done because I began to think of all the stuff I have to do tonight before my trip tomorrow.  I began to stack dishes to put them away and didn't really look nor think too deeply.
    • Seems I have the attention span of a gnat...or a toddler.  Need more practice here as well apparently.
    • One interesting note.  My wife had received several coffee mugs from her half-brother.  These were hand made ones and on the bottom there was some inscriptions.  We've had the mugs for years and I have never, ever looked at them.  I had assumed that they were just the name of the maker.  And while that was partly true, each one had a little not as well.  The two that I washed had written on them "Love me tender." and "Have a good day. I will too."  Thought that was so neat.  So often we rush through life trying to get somewhere or do something...never realizing what we are missing.
  • Evening Zazen 30 Min at 9:30pm
    • Going right now to sit.  Will not do G+ tonight unless I notice someone sitting when I head over to the altar.  
  • Off to Zen Mountain Monastery tomorrow so will be offline from the blog until Tuesday.  No technology will be a challenge, but very much looking forward to the downtime.

Ango 2011 - Day 26

  • Morning Zazen (45m @ ??am)
    • I can't for the life of me remember who I sat with on G+.
    • Normally I post up on my profile so I can track it later, but for some reason I hadn't and now can't remember who I sat with.  
  • No Shobo & no sewing today.
  • Shakuhachi Practice
    • Finished up Daiwagaku today and apart from maybe 2 or 3 areas I think I've got it.  
    • Found it actually easier than Choshi, even though it goes up into daikan register.  I still struggle with the Ha-Ro couplet in kan as I seem to drop down a register each time....must practice more!
  • Dana
    • Began searching for a new way to help others as the food drive is over.
    • A friend of mine showed me a beautiful framed cross stitching that he received from a lady whom he helps from time to time.  This inspired me to do the same.
    • My mother used to deliver food for Meals on Wheels organization to the elderly.  So I've decided to do the same.  On top of the deliveries, I've offered to do some grocery shopping or errands plus some yard keeping, should the need arise.
    • Have contacted the people at Metroport Meals on Wheels and have submitted my volunteer forms and background checks.
  • Evening Zazen (30m @ 8pm)

Ango 2011 - Day 25

  • Morning Zazen (45m @ 5am)
  • Shobo Study
    • Still on Mountain and Waters fascicle.  
    • Having a bit of a hard time following Dogen when he talks about the walking green mountains.  
    • Keep thinking there is an analogy here but just not seeing it.
  • Shaku Study
    • Getting better every day on the kan register...even on some daikan!
    • Listening to Yoru no uta over and this song.
  • Evening Zazen (30 min @ 9pm)
    • Sat without computer tonight.
    • I had it up and online in case someone popped on, but in the end it was just myself