I was out and about yesterday as the weather was fine and the wind had dropped. These model villages in the nearby village of Nenthead are quite something, quite the labour of love.
This post is dedicated to all those who are new to practice or finding it a bit of a struggle to either keep going or to get back to formal meditation. In a certain sense practice is a labour of love. Love with no gain, unconditional love if you will. Oh, and good fortune to the three chaps I met on the road after the recent Intro. Retreat.
There are those little moments, those sights or sounds, which have a powerful impact lifting the spirits when times are hard. Such was the case for a Jade reader, whose wife is on hospice care, who experienced the following while out of the house for a brief time of respite.
A grey drizzly Sunday morning in Lancaster. Walking the dog, we crossed the bridge over the canal and followed the glistening wet cobbles of the spiral staircase specially sloped for the long-gone horses that used to tow the barges. We stopped while the dog raised his leg to leave his mark on the wall.
The drizzle eased for a brief moment and glancing up I saw a tiny hole in the cloudy murk reveal the blue sky beyond. A soft “chug – chug” announced the slow approach of a narrow boat barely making a ripple as it traveled through the water. As the boat past, the man at the tiller and I waved to each other simultaneously and spontaneously. Then he and the boat passed under the bridge and were gone. The dog and I continued on our way.
Nothing special. Yet highly significant. A moment of total harmony. A glimpse of Nirvana through a hole in Samsara.
9th. September 2018
While we teach there is no gap between Nirvana and Samsara such experiences as described above touch a deep part of ones being showing ones heart some much appreciated ‘light’.
Yesterday, Wesak Day. We celebrate the Buddhas Birth and Enlightenment sometime during May, the event marks the Buddhist New Year. Traditionally Wesak is on the Sunday that is closest to May’s full moon. In Malaysia this year that’s the 29th May. As a point of interest Rev. Master Jiyu’s Ordination Master, the Venerable Seck Kim Seng, was instrumental in getting Wesak Day made into a public holiday in Malaysia.
As you can see we get out the Buddhist, home-made, bunting and generally decorate brightly around the monastery. I was fortunate to be at Throssel on Sunday to join in the celebrations.
Today, a public holiday. Moments of repose beside a river: here Wild Garlic in profusion, a Blue Heron statue like, birds calling. A lone duck floats by on the current. Ah! the sunshine, the warmth. The profusion of greenery. It’s been a record-breaking day in terms of temperatures. A good day all around. Even the trash looks good today!
Sitting beside the river this afternoon my mind wandered to those less fortunate all around the wide world. This post is for them.
In 2005 I was witness to the training going on here at Eiheiji. We, the late Iain Robinson and I were escorted everywhere and left in no doubt as to where and what was expected of us. Interesting, informative, educational and stressful! The highlight for me was being invited to offer incense at the main altar during Morning Service. All very formal, we survived! Thought readers would want to view this ‘window’ on how young monks are trained to be priests in Japan.
Eiheiji is a world-famous Zen monastery located in the mountains 200 kilometers northeast of Kyoto. As the temple’s founder Dogen prescribed, the core practice is zazen: simply sitting to calm the mind and examine one’s self. Most of the 150 monks are in their 20’s. They live at the temple, devoting themselves to uninterrupted Zen practice. With unprecedented access inside this remarkable temple, where Dogen’s teachings have been practiced unchanged for over 770 years, the program follows the monks’ lives over the course of 6 months.
….as lace tracing intricate patterns across the sky. Trees rooted and flying, simultaneously. As are we.
….relational. Generational. Alive and decaying, simultaneously. As are we.
Ah the wonders to behold, our friends yet to sprout into greens and fruits. Holding Great Potential in their tracery. As do we.
Dear Readers, Yes, it has been a long age since I sat before my laptop and so easily uploaded photographs, formatted them and now about to publish. I’ve been using a phone and tablet these past…could it be true? Nine months! The call has been getting louder to return to posting on Jade so here I am, answering. I have been active as Hounmugo on Facebook since May. Not at all sure how long that will last though.