Hanging in the hedge a disgarded corn chip packet. With my consciousness recently raised on roadside littering I reached for the bag with the intention of transporting it to a bin. Along with other rubbish I’d picked up. It’s been raining, the bag had filled with water. Emptying the bag, a drowned rodent spilled out! I silently recited a short scripture for its benefit.
The figure kneeling before the Buddha caught my attention as I sat drinking tea yesterday in Yorkshire. (Jason the cat replaced me on the warmed flagstones.) In a certain way, figuratively speaking, life experiences can have us on our knees. Sometimes big events in one’s life are so huge, SO HUGE, the impression never goes away, yet fades in time. Thankfully. Sometimes seemingly small events have us on our knees.
A drowned rodent,
in a chip packet,
hanging in a hedge,
in the English countryside.
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.
This post is for a young lad I heard about recently who is dealing with terminal brain cancer. He’s living the life he has left fund raising for cancer research. He’s making manifest. He’s inspired. Inspiring.