The other day, I made some sweet rolls using dry yeast, which comes in granulated form. Halfway through kneading a huge mound of dough, I developed a growing sense of unease. This doesn’t feel right, I thought, and sure enough, it was not right!
There is a moment isn’t there when you realise you’ve made a mistake; spilt something, crashed, fallen over, fallen for a scam, taken a wrong turning, not activated yeast before adding to dough mix! When you can lose it. Perhaps you do.
In my case, I’d not done the right thing by those yeast granules! I could have let the entire world know, but I didn’t, that could have been shame or there just wasn’t the time to make a fuss.
Later in that morning I told one of the kitchen staff, adding (probably with pride): “Everything is retrievable, including one’s composure!” Her hearty, knowing laugh made my morning.
Devon Splits anybody?
Think of stents in arteries, saving lives? Think of the James Webb Space Telescope, in space, doing what is does. And before it could start operating as a telescope, the massive sun shield had to unfold. An unbelievable complex origami application.
Skill and dedication come in many forms, for example, folding one’s limbs in preparation to sit still in meditation.
Here is a follow on from yesterday’s post, Gone to Glory. Arnie from Vancouver Island, Canada left a long comment which is a perfect follow on to yesterday’s post. So here is the comment reposted, as a post. Thanks, Arnie you are a gem and I know you write from experience. Vis, The fateful crisis has given their life a decisive turn, a decisive breakthrough to experiencing an altered reality….”
Thank you so much, R.M. Mugo for your beautiful writing about a precious moment at the death of R.M. Jiyu!
I am reminded by my teacher, Willigis Jager and his comment on the Chinese Chan Master Yunmen (Jap. Ummon) using the metaphor of the Golden Wind):
” A monk asked Zen Master Unmon, “What if the tree will wither, and the leaves fall?” The Master replied, “Perfect manifestation of the Golden Wind!”
The Golden Wind means the winds of Autumn, but here it means much more. Two older monks sitting together ask each other, “What is the nature of reality now, when we are getting old?” The answer? Reality is “a manifestation of the Golden Wind”.
ZEN Master Unmon supplemented this statement with, “Even though I am old, sick, infirm and suffering, every day is a good day.”
Willigis Jager: Nothing manifests in our lives for which this timeless original wisdom does not hold true. This is often not easy to accept, but again and again, people confess that they have experienced what they had considered to be disasters in their lives, and again and again they are now grateful for what happened to them. The fateful crisis has given their life a decisive turn, a decisive breakthrough to experiencing an altered reality….”
And here is a ‘little something’, left as a comment originally:
West wind rising
On the brink
On the day Rev. Master Jiyu died, (6th November 1996) I was at Shasta Abbey, I’d been part of a team of monks attending on her for the last three years. It is regarded as a very great privilege to be beside one’s Master as they approach the end of their life. I was fortunate to be able to be there.
Rev. Master Jiyu founded Throssel in 1972 and, as is the custom in Zen temples, we express our gratitude for the founder’s life on the anniversary of their death. It has been a beautiful Autumnal day here tucked away in the Northumberland moors, the trees are shedding their colourful leaves. Golden and bronze leaves caught in the watery sunshine as they fall, Lovely.
Back in 1996, beside the building where Rev. Master lived, and had so recently died, there’s a Linden Tree. Minutes after her passing, I found myself gazing at the fluttering leaves, a monk beside me. A slight breeze and the golden leaves, full ripe and ready to fall from their branches, floated down. Glowing in the afternoon sun. I wondered aloud at the joy I felt at that moment. Just another leaf falling off the tree, they said. And with that we went back indoors, where a steady stream of monks were paying their respects.
It might seem odd to be experiencing joy in the presence of death. And just today I linked that joy with a Buddhist teaching, Mudita, sympathetic joy. Yes, on a certain level there is grief, and depending on the circumstances of the death, the relationship with them especially, a death can be harrowing to say the least. And yet, something within resonates deeply, we travel with them in empathy. How could we not do that? Love carries us along with them, and there can be joy and Great Hope while not knowing why.
Gone to Glory?
This is for all those known and unknown who have recently witnessed death in the family. And thank you, Mark Rowan for the photograph.
There is a post called Mudita, Sympathetic Joy here.