Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Blog

Hi there! Christmas, in case you haven't noticed, is just around the corner. Roxy, the carer, put up a little artificial tree on the window ledge and Jean spruced up a wreath on the front door. After all, it's a rare event when someone grows up to say "I and my father are one". All that time spent in the desert must have meant a lot of meditation although I don't know how much the Essenes did. So, lets celebrate his birthday. I hope you have a very happy Christmas and enjoy the things you like the best.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


"Are you glad about being like this as a result of the surgery?" Some one asked me the other day...

I said I was glad of the insights but not of the limitations - thinking of how restricted my life was in terms of serving and spreading the Dharma. I remembered a talk of Genpo Roshis' about how a thimble cannot carry as much as a large container. The sudden removal of so much like walking and talking, I and we all take for granted, gives me a precious chance to be a thimbleful of purer Dharma rather than spreading bucketfuls of tainted Dharma all over the place. It is really the life I always wanted and that for which I was cut out for from the very beginning - a modern day thimble-sized anchorite. So I get on with feeding the cat and washing the dishes, have gratitude for carers who care, and to those who don't, for children (ditto) and the clear button pushing teishos of supermarket checkouts. There's less to protect such as self esteem and people thinking well of you. It's a step nearer being able to learn from a seven year old if they know more than I do (Joshu) which isn't difficult, especially these days. It is equally easy to know more than I do - and teaching an old man if he knows less than I do, which also isn't difficult. Only round here the old men are doing extremely well as farmers and church goers!

Above all I always feel gratitude to my teacher Genpo Roshi who always knew I was a thimble.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lost in Translation?

One passing thought right now is that in the free view (to use a currently very used word in the UK) beyond the broadbands (ditto) there is the common ground of Eastern and Western beliefs. Is Master Joshu's "Ordinary Mind is the Way" much different from the post daikensho Master Jesus popping up here and there, eating grilled fish on the beach with a friend or visiting friends and sharing meals or taking walks with them?

Thank God for meditation - it's about all I can do these days. I'm really grateful to Tammy (Myoho Sensei) for the tedious job of a) getting clear what I am trying to say and b) transcribing it and reading it back to me before it turns into a blog.

Another passing thought was how things get lost in translation, without a translator!

Student: Sensei, I'm really stuck on that koan you gave me about being compression
Me: Oh No! It was about compassion!

Or on my quoting the Buddhas' tip for relaxing to imagine precious ointment melting on your head and running down your shoulders and arms, the said meditator said "The ornament on my head doesn't seem to melt!"

So there is a funny side to all this, although it has it's dangers. Anyway, it's not so much what you say that matters - unless you are Master Joshu - it's who you really are.