Monday, November 03, 2008

November 3, 2008

Yesterday was the first anniversary of my father’s death. Last week at Segaki for the first time I felt some sorrow that we never really got to know each other, and I began to wish him a better rebirth. It was a much nicer feeling than the anger, rage, and pain that have dominated my feelings toward him during this last year.

I’ve been reading The Wild White Goose, Roshi Kennett’s autobiography. In her description of transmission, and especially when she had that transmission verified, she used the word “love” a fair bit. For her the training and practice had something to do with the love she and her teacher shared, and by extension to every other person and thing on the planet, and beyond, I suppose.

When I asked Gyokuko about the sewing master as a teaching function, she talked about the kitchen, and how it has to do with caring deeply for every thing we work with, awareness of its texture, our body sensation -- mindfulness and love. As she used the word “love” she got this big smile on her face. I realized later that she was recognizing this as a subject I have expressed a lot of interest in. [Hmmm… maybe I could do a student talk about this at some point …]

In fact, I’m seeing it. Last year when Hogen suggested that I put the pain in my heart into the context of a lot of space, he wasn’t saying that it doesn’t matter, which is what I was hearing. To the contrary, you do that because it does matter, profoundly.

Further, I recognize that my stuck places, my very obstacles, come from love, and the feeling that I have somehow failed in caring for the people around me. And so I keep trying to take care of everything around me as I did for my younger siblings growing up. And getting kind of bossy about it (as of course I felt I had to do with them). Taking over. Not trusting others or allowing them to fail.

Everything I do comes from love. It’s all love.

Now I need to learn how to express it skillfully, to communicate it in a way that is NOT controlling, that creates space for others to grow in their own ways. As my teachers have done for me. As they continue to do.

I’ve been thinking of saying something about soji [temple cleanup, 30 minutes] (which we do four mornings a week, and which I assign). Something like this: Soji is an opportunity to express our gratitude for a space that supports our training practice. It is an opportunity to extend that gratitude into generosity to others in supporting their training practice. It is an opportunity to practice mindfulness in paying attention to the things, surfaces, textures and tools we work with, and to our own bodies as we move through these activities. Creating a clean, welcoming environment expresses our love to all who enter here and allows us all to share our practice together. May we be mindful of ourselves, our sensations, our own practice, and also mindful of others who will use these things / food / spaces, so that we and they will obtain the truth.


Blogger Laura said...

Thank you for this touching and heartfelt post.

6:35 PM  

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