Monday, April 4, 2011

What I Did On My Day Off

For at least forty five weeks in the year, I am in the zendo six mornings a week, and out on my bike the other, so when interim rolls round I am usually ready for a break, especially coming after a sesshin, and a month when days off were pretty hard to come by.
But first there was another visit to Green Gulch for the Coming of Age group yesterday. It was a fine morning, and I had plenty of post-sesshin energy, and joy at being out and about again, and I was also feeling quite mellow around the boys, who were their usual boisterous selves, though once again I appreciated the conversation we had around the precepts towards the end.
There was also the matter of the monthly Suzuki Roshi memorials, which I knew would be sparsely attended. It turned out that I was doshi for both last night's and this morning's ceremonies, which I hadn't expected, and which I don't really feel senior enough to do, but faute de mieux...
I enjoyed doing them, especially as I had noticed being a little sad not to have the opportunities to be doshi during sesshin, and did my best to honour the formality of the occasions. One thing I did notice was that the statue we have in the kaisando, which is not universally loved - I have heard it said more than once that none of the commemorative artwork we have around the building really captures his spirit, mostly being too solemn and not catching the twinkling eye - is much more effective when you are standing in front of it for a few minutes: there is a way the eyes focus on you that I hadn't expected.
That done, and the weather being fine, I was itching to go out and ride, and I had all the fun I could possibly ask for, warm weather, no wind, quiet roads, wildflowers, birds, seals, as well as much evidence of rain damage on the roads. It felt like spring, and I can still feel the sun on my face. It was nice to have an unstructured afternoon, and to attend to some of the accumulated piles of things in my room.
I'll throw in a couple of photos to prove that I am still waking up pretty early, and that I am enjoying rediscovering the manual controls on my camera:


kevin said...

What a schedule, glad you enjoyed your time off. A lot of people try so hard to enjoy it they end up spoiling it for themselves.

I know what you mean about not feeling senior enough. I'm constantly struggling with a sense of, not so much unworthiness, but unreadiness whether the situation's obvious or not.

With only about a year's serious practice I find myself as tenzo for a wonderful sangha but am constantly being reminded by it being a position only "held by advanced practitioners." With how seriously I take tradition, these are some pretty big shoes to fill.

I trust Gaelyn's judgment in giving me the position, so apparently my feet are bigger than I care to realize. I'm glad to see someone else admit their apprehension.

It's just that whole gradual thing of skillful means from the prodigal son in the Lotus Sutra you have to have faith in. Everybody starts somewhere, but you only get somewhere else by stepping outside.

Thanks for the post and the many photos over the past weeks.

Shundo said...

Hi Kevin, I think you win the prize for the longest comment yet...
These practice positions are designed to be impossible and to show us our limitations, and we get to see how we deal with that when it smacks us in the face.
As for the Memorial, it is usually done by Paul, Blanche or Jordan; last month Lien stepped in, but as shuso she has that kind of responsibility and seniority.