Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wake-up Bell

Usually when I wake up, I keep one eye on the clock and one ear on the sounds of the wake-up bell starting downstairs; this morning I woke a little earlier than usual, so, thinking I had more time than usual, I didn't notice that nothing was happening until it was already five o'clock. I ran downstairs in my kimono, and ran the wake-up bell around the building as fast as I could manage, and had Jay start the han while I took over his job of taking attendance for the morning.
I noticed that I was quite agitated, as I can often be when things don't go as smoothly as I want them to, and as I sat in the zendo, I thought that this was not so much due to the regular fukudo not being there on time (I am grateful that this is the first time it's happened in eight months of being ino), or the fact that I had to do it myself (I could have gone looking for someone else, but that would have made it even later), as I always used to enjoy running the bell; what bothered me was that it was already warm, after another hot day yesterday, and I knew that I would be bathed in sweat and feeling clammy for another three hours until after koan class with Paul, which is pretty much how it turned out - and the fact that both my jubons are now disgusting and I will have to wash them. At least they won't take long to dry on the line in this heat.


Cristi said...

ah! so it wasn't just me that thought things were running a bit late. Thanks for waking us up. Otherwise you wouldn't have had a shoten either...

Melanie G from AZC said...

Being late can shake a person up, it seems. Funny how the day can seem off for awhile after a late start.

At the Austin Zen Center, teacher Kosho McCall has been holding discussion classes on the book, "Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen" by Shunryƫ Suzuki and Edward Espe Brown. Taking a little license on the topic of the wake up bell (or alarm clock), here is a quotation from the book that we discussed recently:
“I think most of you are rather curious about what Zen is. Zen is actually our way of life, and to practice zazen is like setting your alarm clock. Unless you set your alarm, the clock will not serve its purpose. Every day we must have a starting point. The sun rises at a certain time and sets at a certain time, always repeating the same thing. And we do too, but it may not feel that way to us. Unless our life is organized, we may not realize how important it is to know where to start our life.
As Zen students our life begins with zazen practice. We come back to zero and start from zero. Although we have various activities, the most important things is to realize how these activities arise from zero. At the moment you decide to sit, it means that you have already set your alarm. When you have enough confidence to make the decision to start practicing zazen, that is zero.”