First, sitting in meditation and then during the Dharma discussion which followed, I was seated between an 82 year old cowboy/logger in the 4th generation of the people who settled this area (after removing by force the Native population), and a young woman who runs an organic vegetable farm/gardening enterprise, she is a Portland transplant several generations younger than the older cowboy. Sixteen people were gathered in this little temple in the northeast corner of Oregon and meditated and then engaged in talk about the teachings of the Buddha and Zen training in particular. One person, a Catholic nun who dropped by with a friend who attends some of these Sunday events, spoke to the Buddhist teachings by referring to Jesus’ teaching to Mary and Martha in referrence to being more still than busily active. Our Buddhist Master, a female monk, responded to that observation in open agreement as to the values of true teachings that can be seen as True, irrespective of their context, i.e. Buddhist or Catholic.
I was reminded that on the inside of my Small Kesa is a teaching written by RM Jiyu Kennett, the founder of our Order
“That which is True is greater than that which is holy”
So it is.
Part of the discussion had been led off by the mostly retired logger/cowboy about the difficulty of dealing with a lifelong habit of working and doing and not being used to attending to stillness for its own sake, as opposed, perhaps, to the stillness that can come over one in sublime moments in a natural or “spiritual” setting. Many contributed their views and some natural difficulties encountered in looking at a common experience that is often so deeply personal.
A lovely way to spend a few hours with good hearted/intentioned people willing to come together and be still (deliberately so), and discuss subjects that are at a bit of a remove from the water-cooler or dinner-table but often in our hearts and minds at some level.
Big questions, no answers.
Rumination and searching within the heart with sincere friends; some of them strangers.
What could be better?
A day well spent
Can be a lifetime.
With no achievement
Nothing to show,