Friday, July 27, 2018

Ango cont

Sorry computer keyboard is trashed. Not going to type a lot on my phone. Just gonna say being a Dogen scholar is like being a erudite chef.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

ango continued.

Well it has been a while though time seems to flow together in ango where most days are pretty much the same. Several folks came by to practice with us for a week and it was good to have some numbers to help split up the work.It was good to reconnect with some dharma sisters and to meet some I had not met before. all in all it was a good week. We are back to 5 these days so onward and upward we go. Having a picnic at a sister temple this afternoon as they are ground breaking for a new building at their retreat center. We are meeting up with some folks who have been doing a week long retreat. I imagine there will be some old friends in that group too.I am attempting to just roll with the ango and sort of float through the days. The more I learn the less I know.....good thing that I know very little any more. Well the picnic got rained out so we had the picnic here and it just so happened that some old friends stopped by and we had a great time. Evening off so that is good and there is a public sitting in the morning so schedule is revised as it is every Sunday. Just looked at the calendar which was a mistake six more weeks seems like a long time but I guess it is just taking it one day at a time. One day is not so hard to handle.One more day tomorrow and soon enough the days will be over.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

ango cont.

Been in Ango for a few days and already one participant has left. This was my fist full day as doan the one who rings all the bells for services and zazen. I am really sorry to see the one who left gone as he was one I felt I could depend on to hold up his end of the the practice. This practice is pretty hard for people in this country. Not only is is difficult to find the time to take a couple months off, but the practice itself is not easy and it is not what people in the West expect it to be. I do not know what it was that required my new friend to leave but I wish him well on his endeavors. I slept well last night and am still a bit tired today but I am dragging my old broken carcass through the day in spite of the difficulties. It may end up with just my teacher and I before we are done, it remains to be seen. I am not even sure I can stick it out though this is much easier than an Ango in Japan. This place is like the Hilton when compared with Shogoji. We have electric lights, and a kitchen to cook in. Geothermal head and air conditioning. It has rained her for 5 days so that at least makes it feel a little like the rainy season in Japan.Almost noon and time for formal oryoki lunch. The day is already mostly over. The hard part is over and the loving part begins.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

sesshin is overand the Ango begins

I made it through sesshin although not without a few bumps. I missed the Shoten's wake up bell this morning so I slept through the first period of zazen. now monks are supposed to be attentive and things are complicated by the white noise from my cpap machine but the Shoten's job is to send signals and the signals are supposed to be as clear as one can make them.I noticed this when I could barely hear the bonsho over the airconditioner vent right over my head. Signs and signals are not for the attentive. The attentive do not need signs or signals. One should not be like a sign painter that paints beautiful signs that no one can read. If one is ringing a bell to signal people to do things one should be more concerned with sending the signal than how beautifully the bell rings. I think this in important lesson. If one is teaching or showing the way one should be clear. Shoken's name means clear manifestation. I think the clear part is vital. A pretty lecture full off frills is less important then a clear one.A clear message of love is more important than a pretty one that leaves the receiver wondering "what was that?"

Friday, June 15, 2018


People begin to arrive for the sesshin that will open the Ango. Look like a core group of five that will be here for the whole ango and about 15 registered for the weekend sesshin. looks like it will be a good group. I am struggling a bit to keep up with the easy schedule before everything starts. I will see how I will hold up to the more rigorous schedule to come. I am sitting in a chair which makes 40 minute zazen periods pretty much a rest time. I am surprised how much more focused I am after meditating through surgery recovery. It seems just being is more natural to me now than it was in my younger days. love the birds and even the noisy cows after my time in the desert SW. I am just soaking in all the green and spending as much time as I can forest bathing.The practice is returning gradually to my memory after 19 years away from the temple it takes a while to recover all the details.It is comforting in its familiarity though and I am getting harmonized with the flow of the days.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I have arrived at Ruymonji for summer ango. I loved the thunderstorm on the evening I arrived. Ryumonji could not have prepared a better welcome for me if they had a hundred years to plan for my arrival. It has been a busy time as we prepare for the arrival of guests for the sesshin that opens the Ango. There has also been a party for the birthday of the Abbot. There was a potluck in town with great food and a large carrot cake.Doing lots of dishes and I am enjoying the morning service so far.
Getting up early does not seem to be a problem so far, but I assume that will change as the sleep hours are reduced and the daily activities increase. Put on the full robes yesterday for the first time in years. This morning I managed to get tied up in my okesa as I tried to put it on in the sodo. The first arrival for the ango is due any moment. I am settling my bottom in the saddle and getting ready to ride.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


The Monks chanted well
But the enshrined Buddha
Remains unmoved.