With Dignity and Grace.

While staying with Iain and Edera in their home in Japan I was introduced to Edera’s Kimono teacher who had come round one afternoon. We first celebrated the tea ceremony at the dining room table, with Edera as the assistant to the celebrant, and then we went into the formal Japanese room. There I was shown a thing or two about how to get up off the ground. The art of the Kimono, how to put it on, how to move in it, how to take it off and fold it is all incredibly detailed. Edera’s kimono teacher imparted grace and dignity with every small gesture and movement she made; it is good to think of her now.

Learning how to get off the floor in formal robes the Japanese way.

In the east I was shown in great detail several ways to make full bows. This included which hand goes down first onto the floor and which one to push off with, not to mention all the hand movements one makes on the way up and on the way down. The culmination of all this learning and practice comes before me when I make bows during morning service in the monastery. I do them along with everybody else however I notice that I have now incorporated small features I learn in the east. Nothing major but they are there. This brings up quite a lot especially around the willingness to follow; the readiness to drop what one has learnt, to follow what the form is in ones present circumstances. My present practice is to do what ever it is with as much dignity as I can muster and the meshing with current practice will follow with repetition. Learning takes repetition and so does unlearning it would seem. Thinking about it that holds true for so many things

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2 thoughts on “With Dignity and Grace.”

  1. “. . . .the willingness to follow. . . .” — This is such a tough one. To find sufficient trust to follow a human teacher — some of us have this as a central feature of koan. It’s something to work toward and it brings up fear. Any thoughts….?

  2. Err…the word emulate came to mind, emulate not imitate. Not reproduce anothers ways, that is not our way is it?
    You must remember the teaching that the student sits on the Masters head, right? Humans fear, Buddhas rise up. How’s that, and hows the cat(s)?

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