Sometimes complex is simple…

The last several weeks have been interesting and very helpful to me. I went to Bay area for a few days and connected with a few friends, went by my home temple and spent some time with my teacher and also visited for a very short time with an old friend from back in the Tahoe, South Miami Beach, NYC days. He was passing through, coming from Miami for some Tahoe snow. We managed to spend 45 minutes just enjoying the re-connection after some years and then parted and went our ways, going in different directions.

At the end of that I traveled north to Shasta with another old friend from those days with whom I’d reconnected after many years, and we caravanned as far as Redding and got some rooms and spent time catching up.  It was my 25th anniversary of having taken the Buddhist Precepts in a series of five formal ceremonies (Jukai, in Japanese), extended over a seven day retreat at out monastery, Shasta Abbey (Soto Zen tradition). My friend was going for the first time and had no idea of what it would be like, but was determined to take this big step of formally becoming a Buddhist and receiving the Precepts.

The week went very well but like all retreats it was draining and exhausting, yet in a very good way. Towards the end of the retreat I took a fall off a ladder and ended up in the emergency room and after a series of scans and poking and proddings, was pronounced bruised and ambulatory and given medicine and some good advice. The medicine from the hospital, and the good advice from  two old spiritual friends, two monks from Shasta Abbey, who had accompanied me to the hospital and helped get me oriented afterward.

The experience of the retreat and the fall and the various side effects of both, and all that activity set on top of a long road trip, preceded by a long personal retreat and a long cold Winter, seemed to set into motion a few internal things that I will have to explore further. Within all that, it looks like I’ll be moving to Walla Walla and experience life in that setting. Currently the plan has me moving there in May, which will give me a chance to settle a lot of loose ends concerning the house that Linda and I shared in Tekoa,Washington, and gathering up a lot of stuff as well as a general re-orienting of what the base of my life will be.

All indicators, nudges and niggles seem to be pointing me into a further and deeper commitment to the practice of Zen and its application in life.

Combining ceremony and meditation; making my daily life a ceremony (offering) and my meditation and the Precepts a reminder of how to conduct that ceremony.

That should keep me busy ’til I can’t no more…

The dream points out the dream and waking

Up I see that this is the dream, and my

Body and mind are the way.

No problem, nothing to discard, the 

View has changed. From

Here, I go.

Winding down from self…

Winding down from personal retreat. The first several weeks were on a schedule of meditation and ceremony and bowing for all but one day each week.Then when I got sick with some bug, it changed and became much more fluid and quite intense in a way I hadn’t experienced before, I seemed to just sort of stay in a hyper-aware mode that was very interesting and at times discomfiting.  A few days ago that too has edged away and I think I’m sort of done with this little Winter Withdrawal. I could have been more rigorous in maintaining the schedule when I was feeling puny, but a good friend reminded me that this is the Middle path. So, it was time well spent.

In a conversation with someone last week, I mentioned that I was concerned  with the fact that I would be moving one more time this Summer, which would make five moves in the 3 1/2 years since Linda died. My friend said, “So what; you can move ten times, who said you have to stay in one place?” Good point.

I have decided to cast a little further afield in my looking for a place. This Winter in the Wallowa Valley of Eastern Oregon was a little more stark than am willing to commit too. I’m exploring other options that will put me in a milder Winter but not too far away. I like the area and want to stay close to the local temple but maybe with more mobility and choices. I’ll find out a lot more in the next two months.

I realize once again, that the “problems” that are in my life are all a result of things I set into motion (karma) and all the consequences are reaped in feeling (s). That is the nature of Karma.

We set things in motion and the feelings we reap induce further actions we “feel” we have to take and then, we’re off to the races. That is how we suffer.

I’m reminded that the three basic “engines” of our suffering are greed, hate and delusion. Of those three, Delusion is the most difficult to see because its main activity seems to be trying to reconcile our Greed and Hate through rationalizing them with a complex story (ours), that this is how life is. This results in an insistence of how things are and not, which activities make it that way.

We want this; but not that.

Although we may get what we want it will change and 

We don’t like that. So we fix  the Change because it looks

Like Muddle, because we forgot it was a-a-a-

Part of our Plan and the

Muddle and plan don’t seem

Con-nected.

Or even dis-

Now we have This,

Not That.  There that’s better!

For now.