Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ango 2011 - Day 14

     While sitting zazen this morning I had received a couple teachings from an unsuspecting sensei. I was all settled in. Back straight, head forward, neck relaxed, legs crossed, hands in mudra and eyes dimmed. Wafts of incense filled my nose and I was reaching the still point. 
     Then I felt something on my head. Then on my ear. Next on my neck, elbow and knee. I glanced down and spied the tormentor...a common housefly, musca domestica. I assured myself that it would soon leave for more fruitful endeavors, but of course I'd be wrong. Agonizing minutes passed with it buzzing and landing on various parts me. When it landed on my upper lip, I decided that was it. I broke position and brushed it away. Seemingly having received the unwelcoming message, it left.
     Settling back down again, breathing deepening, I sat. Then it had the audacity to not only return, but land directly in my ear. With a violent shake of my head and body that I'm sure would have looked hilarious, had anyone been around, I had had enough. My attempts to overcome its taunts had failed and he'd have to be removed. Seconds later, he landed on my leg. Releasing the mudra, and with the agility and speed of a puma I scooped him up in my right hand. Finally I'd be rid of my nemesis and finally able to drop body and mind. I took him out to the back patio, opened my palm and with great relief watched him fly off.

Insight #1:
You cannot know what you hold in the palm of your hand, until you release your grip.

Returning to the zafu, I settled in once again. Bowing to the Buddha I felt an overwhelming peace and equanimity. Once again, with eyes dimmed, breath deepening, pulse slowing and a peaceful awareness, I sat. Then I felt it on my leg, again. In a disbelief and rage that would break several of the precepts, I glared down at my knee with eyes aflame, only to see, nothing.

Insight #2:
Much of our perceived suffering can only be found in our mind's "fly".

Nine deep bows to my sensei, the common housefly.

  • Shakuhachi Practice
    • Had my shakuhachi lesson today and it went great. 
    • While I am still horrific on Choshi, I was able at least to hit the "Ha Ro" couplet, twice during the song.  The rest of it still sounded painful, but I was playing along with Jon and so much more tolerable.
    • We began our practice on Daiwagaku
      • Love the first part of this as it's in the otsu register and was very easy to play.  
      • Interesting to note that this is the first piece that has timing. As this was created by Jin Nyodo in the early 20th Century, he added it to know how the flow goes.
      • Also, the song has a natural flow and much explanation as to Jin Nyodo's thoughts on the piece.  Very much looking forward to learning more.
  • Sewing Practice
    • Spent only a few minutes sewing today, but was able to sew the middle stitch around the rakusu and also iron and mark the sao for sewing on another day.
  • Shobo study:
    • Finished Power of the Robe and have to say that I love the translation that Kaz has done for the Verse of the Robe.
Great is the robe of liberation,
the robe beyond form, the field of benefaction!
I wear the Tathagata's teaching
to awaken countless beings.

    • I love the awakening part of that verse and think I'll incorporate that into the verse as taught by Taigu.
  • Dana
    • Received another donation today from a neighbour for the canned food drive I am running.  Was very kind of them and in return I was able to give them some stain for their fence that they needed.  We are very fortunate to have such a loving and helping neighbourhood.
  • Alexander Technique Practice
    • Was able to continue some reading in the AT book Body, Breath and Being by Nicholls
    • Highly recommend this book, mostly because of the wonderful illustrations as well as the CD in the back that walks you through some of the technique.
    • Nicholls is my teacher's teacher and so it's also somewhat nice to train in the 'lineage'. ;)
  • Evening Zazen (90 Minute Zazenkai @ 7pm)
    • Sat zazenkai on G+ & with the sangha on
    • During zazenkai tonight, I was experiencing a crick in my mid back during the first 30 min of zazen.  I was unable to drop it no matter how I adjusted my sitting or relax my neck/back.  So during kinhin, I took up the semi-supine (at rest) position and lengthened my back.  When returning to zazen, it was completely gone.  I really wish this was more published and maybe more seminars on how to do this technique.  Private lessons are quite costly, but it's really something everyone should learn.

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