Token Kesa Up Everest

Around 170 people came to a Remembrance Ceremony this afternoon at Oak Hill Cemetery, San Jose. There was a lot of talk about ‘birth and death’, about impermanence. And there was a lot about the life lived by Dave the chap who died recently. Lots of remembering. Lots of memories. Lots of grief and emotions of every shade. Lots to say and probably a lot not able to be said, right now.

There were photographs of people grouped in smiling rows and animal friends too. (We have one, Dave’s cat, lodging upstairs at the Priory.) There were pictures of an attempt to climb Everest, of Dave and others encircled by snow. But what’s that? Looks very much like a Token Kesa around Dave’s neck. It IS a token kesa! These are a small everyday-ware version of the kesa given at the time of receiving the Precepts and officially becoming a Buddhist. Generally they are worn for meditation and ceremonies and at times when it’s good to have an physical reminder of ones practice. So, not a bad plan to wear the symbol of ones commitment to follow the Buddha’s Teaching when facing the real possibility of imminent death, on Everest. Just one slip is all it takes.

Driving back from San Jose to Oakland on Highway 880 this evening the traffic, for me, was terrifying. Just one slip is all it takes…and always one wears the kesa of training. Mostly that’s worn out of sight in the form of ones silent inner vigil to keep true to the Precepts. That’s to be still in the midst of conditions. Up Everest or driving in four lanes of fast moving traffic, makes no difference. There is no let up on the inner work, where ever one happens to be traveling. Brightly alive, dying or dead.

When Dave’s article about the Precepts, written back in 1981, comes back on line I’ll link to it. Oh, for the sake of remembrance and for love, here is the link anyway.

In the mean time, be careful out there.

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