Showing posts from April, 2015

Carrying the Teacher's Bags

This July, I am going to Europe with my teacher, my dharma sister, and a representative from the Soto Zen headquarters. There's a hossenshiki taking place and they want it to be officially registered with the Soto Sect in Japan, so my teacher is being called in to be the official guy in the fancy robes and hat who makes everything official (I think this is called "officiating"?). My dharma sister has been asked to give a class on goeka, the devotional Buddhist singing that we learn in the monastery. And I... well, I'm not really sure what I'm going to be doing.

When I asked my teacher what my role would in Europe, he told me, "You can be my Jisha."

"What exactly will that mean?" I asked.

He clarified, "You can carry my bags."

Being the Abbot's Jisha (personal assistant) is a sought- after position in most Zen monasteries. It's seen as an opportunity to observe close-up how someone with a lot of experience and expertise in Ze…

Like Water

I haven't updated in a while because I've been feeling uninspired and somewhat discouraged. I even went so far as to tell several of my friends and family members that I was "done with Buddhism." I was getting to this place where I recognized how much I've projected my hopes and dreams onto this tradition, and felt very keenly that Buddhism isn't actually so different from any other religion. There are groups doing the same, prescribed activity together, there's belief, there's a practice based around the hope of future salvation or happiness, there's an ethical and social code. There are leaders who are enlightened/ authorized/ mature on one end of the spectrum, and people who are hapless/ unenlightened/ immature on the other, and who thus depend on the former category of leaders to substantiate and legitimize their spiritual growth. 

Gross. Give me my projections back.

I've been jogging a lot lately, and it makes me feel incredible. So I got…