Monday, October 17, 2011


I left the tangaryo students pretty much to their own devices over the two days of sitting. They are supposed to be responsible for their punctuality and their effort; when I noticed on Saturday morning that some of them took longer to return to the zendo after oryoki, when people were already coming for 9:25 zazen, I encouraged them to support each other's practice by not lingering on their breaks.
I took the other meals with them, as we all ate together silently in the bustling dining room, and served them tea - with Renee's help on Friday. After dinner I went and sat with them for the last hour, before I walked them through how this morning's entering ceremony would go, noticing how they were at the end of a long day of sitting.
We get to do a lot of leaving ceremonies, but it has been more than a year since the last entering one here, and of course there is a different feeling to it, even if the form is basically identical. Paul noted that they are not really new - as they would be at Tassajara - but encouraged them to see this as a moment to reconnect with why they wanted to be here, to help motivate their practice. Of course we shouldn't need a ceremony to remind us of these things, but it always helps.

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