Anna, who is a Jade reader and long time practitioner within our Order, wrote me an email which I am sharing here, with her permission. The reason I’m doing so is because it offers a window on a reader’s world. Through this window we find one who overcomes multiple great difficulties with dignity and within them finds the time to express gratitude as well. Thus, as far as I am concerned, she offers spiritual encouragement. Thank you, with bows.
Reverend Master Mugo,
For days…weeks probably…I’ve had a list of topics from your more recent blog entries by my computer, entries that somehow live in my memory for a variety of reasons. Then this morning, when I read your blog’s history I realized that I wanted to thank you for taking the leap whenever you initially began this project. I always appreciate people in the culture, and in this case, monks in our Order, who are willing to walk outside the box and take us to the Dharma in a less obvious way. So, thank you for your innovations and openness and I applaud their growth and your wisdom in guiding readers through new Dharma Gates. There are so many ways in, aren’t there.
About this list next to my computer. When I first saw the green handicap parking sign and Towing Enforced I laughed aloud. For anybody who used to walk and has now periodic experiences in a wheelchair, you may not realize how relevant Towing Enforced is. I suddenly found in that sign a description for what happens on my ride from the Buddha Hall up to what a certain Reverend calls my horse barn when some brave soul–did you push me when you were here, I forget–has kindly given me a ride. I’m heavy in the chair, so nobody dawdles, but rather gains momentum and we move at quite a speed. No stopping to exchange the time of day with a pedestrian, no social exchanges, just enforced towing in reverse. And suddenly it’s all over. It’s like a major experience in impermanence–and I realize how much I enjoy walking slowly and taking in all the crinkles in the wood siding and the views out one or two windows– when I am strong enough to walk. The object of my appreciation must change quickly, and I get more and more practice in that marvelous teaching…detachment. Always letting go, always letting go.
I remember the question from students about increasing their vocabularies…how???? Read, I always answered them, read. That’s the only real way to let words learn to live inside of you. I wish I had thought of the inhaling/exhaling image. Really fine.
Somewhere in some blog about who knows what now, you ended with one of your pithy last lines…*”let go of loneliness.” Well, I still haven’t and create suffering for myself because of it and the line went like a knife straight through. There’s a blog “format” that you employ sometimes, and I admit it’s one of my favorites: some daily life story, perhaps pithy, perhaps simple [remember your vacuum cleaner duty at Throssel?], but it ends with a one liner of teaching that zaps the heart. You’re really good at that and I am always grateful for it. Like the fine Dharma talks from some weighty piece of scripture that illustrate what’s so true about the Dharma…it certainly understands the human heart.
Your recent discussion about trains and the points about excitement…I appreciate a teacher who doesn’t tell me never to get excited, although I will bow to the idea, but I like being lassoed with the responsibility to walk the middle path. In that piece I saw, or “felt” in a visceral way, the loss of true excitement when it lacks limits. Experiencing the joy is one thing…then letting it go and going on, always going on. I don’t have your text in front of me, but somehow it balanced excess while allowing some true pleasure. Ways and ways…you said….
I am so happy you went to Washington and I hope at some point you will indeed have some time in Ryokan’s hut. I found Reverend Eido’s talks renewing for me in a couple of ways. I was too ill to go to the retreat, so I missed the hands-on parts, and the parts one only really “gets” if one is present. But (a monk) recorded the Dharma talks and when I got my copy I sat in front of my computer here in my town hermitage and listened to one talk an evening. I realized that given the state of my body now, I got more out of the talks by listening to the mp3 than I would have if I’d had all the chemistry of adrenalin –both mine and other people’s–to deal with if I’d been strong enough to be present. Her greatest gift to me was to open my heart again to what is innately true for my path: art, music, language do not take one away from the Great Silence of Spirit at all, but they can be Dharma gates and reflections of our Buddha hearts. I have heard some denials of that–perhaps I misunderstood–and I was so grateful to have what is true for me affirmed.
Sheds and stone walls…they are etched inside this damaged head of mine and I go to them sometimes for solace. No special ones, just visions of photographs that offer me quiet. Thank you for it all.
Travel safely and I hope I will see you in September, or at some point. Care for your heart, gently.
Thank you Anna for the feedback and for giving me the opportunity to try out the Search feature on the blog. I was thus able to briskly find the articles you mention and then link to them.
This is the actual quote from the article Lonely Moon.
*Perhaps it is good to remember not to abandon ourselves to loneliness.
Here are some (un-lonely) pebbles on a lakeside beach in Idaho. Nature has done a perfect job of arranging them; like so much in this world should one choose to take the long, and un-lonely view.