I tried asking about this koan story around the dinner table, but no-one knew exactly who said what. A little internet research brought me to Wuzu Fayan, and 'Zen's Chinese Heritage', Andy Ferguson's deeply valuable book: "Wuzu made inquiries to a Tripitaka master about the nature of knowledge. To his question he received the reply, 'If a person drinks water, he personally knows hot and cold'".
Riding my bike in the rain is not my idea of unalloyed fun, and if I just followed the weather forecast, I would not go out nearly as much as I do. Today the forecast was showing a 90% chance of rain right through the day. For a cyclist this is not so helpful anyway, as it doesn't say how much rain there is a 90% chance of - I would happily take a 90% chance of a light drizzle over a 30% chance of a heavy downpour. Anyway, going up on the roof after breakfast gave me the distinct impression that there was no immediate threat of rain, so I ventured forth.
I was hoping to ride out to the Bovine, but I had forgotten that yesterday, on the way back from Green Gulch, we had been diverted from the Tennessee Valley Road all the way round to the next Highway 101 access, as there was flooding right by the Richardson Bay Bridge. This morning, as I started up the cycle path from Sausalito and saw that it was still flooded, I consulted with a rider coming the other way, and he told me that he had turned back at the bridge as it didn't look rideable. I opted to take a turn around the Headlands instead, and while it was not as satisfying, I was out for a couple of hours, and the only wetness came from residual streams running over the road surface in places.
At Green Gulch over the weekend we did the first of two overnights with the Coming of Age boys' group. The weather was not too kind to us, and we adjusted our activities accordingly. We had set ourselves up very snugly in the Wheelwright Center, and several of the boys were handy at setting a fire in the stove. The plan was for us to sleep in the zendo, but one or two boys asked why we didn't just sleep where we were, as we were so comfortable. There was a good reason to sleep in the zendo, and it was borne out by events - the boys, who normally manage to be as fully boisterous as a group of twelve year-olds can be, became very quiet once we were inside. Without Jim and I really needing to say very much, the atmosphere of the room, the Buddha field built up over forty years of sitting, did its work. The night was distinctly peaceful, at least until the wake-up bell started at five twenty, which was quite a shock for them...
This afternoon, towards the end of zazen, someone came to the entrance of the zendo and paused. I indicated with a gesture that it was fine for him to come in, but he shook his head gently, and stood at the threshold. Little by little he shifted his stance until he was just inside the room; I noticed that I had a slight physical reaction to this unusual nearby presence, but I sensed that his attitude was one of respectful curiosity, so I did nothing else until the bell rang a few minutes later, and after I had got up from my seat, I invited him to stay for the service, which he did. Afterwards I made a point of staying by the gaitan, and I asked him if he had any questions; he sounded quite relieved to have the opportunity to ask, as he was interested in finding out more. As I left, I remembered stories of people who said that when they first came to sit, they would stay in the gaitan, sometimes for the first few weeks or even months, as crossing the threshold to the zendo seemed too intimidating. But then you just have to taste it for yourself.