Truth to Power – In Jest

These figures, Jesters, are dressed in the outfits that are worn in the village I was staying in last week. The statue caught my attention the first time I went out shopping the day after I arrived. Food popping up again! The Spelt bread was good and the prize-winning bakery obviously attractive, from the pavement. But what do these statues point to?

The tradition of Fastnacht. A festival/knees-up which marks the beginning of Lent and is particular to an area of Germany known as the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. Here a link where you can read all about the goings-on during this carnival to end all carnivals. The costumes and masks are historic, each village having a well-established and unique expression.

The Jester has a special place in the scheme of things. A chance to speak truth to power, in a fun way.

Being a jester involves making fun of authorities, and the chance to speak openly and tell unpleasant truths. Under the mask the jester won’t be recognized and can say what he likes to say. (A fellow club sister of mine used to be a former minister in the government of Baden-Württemberg. She told me how she once visited the carnival in Rottweil, where a masked jester approached her and told her loads of details about life and work in her ministry, so he surely must have been an employee, but she did not recognize him.)
From the above mentioned site.

Now thinking of the discipline involved with Lent in the Christian tradition. Fasting is not outside of our practice in Buddhism. A choice indeed and one I find helpful to interrupt the habit of eating more sugar than is good. I’d say sometimes my sugar eating verges on addictive behaviour. That’s finding it hard to stop at just one biscuit.

Colourful Lives

1f4e0ccd-10cc-4a21-9cab-2044fc5700a1 Here are three fairly randomly chosen photos. Food does feature it seems! Walking in Freiburg last Thursday, out the corner of my eye, I spotted chips with mayonnaise being eaten ‘on the wing’. Later after the visit to the awesome cathedral, a wander through the fruit and veg market and window shopping I was guided back, for chips. Most welcome by that time.

The plate of food includes Selsify a root vegetable, common in markets in Europe. It grows deep into the soil, black on the outside and ‘interesting’ to prepare. You’d need to look it up for details.

And the sun set! Something to behold as my host and I took a fairly long evening walk, a vineyard and streets featured as we walked into darkness. The colours of the sunset constantly changing, until the sky was black.

As we walked our surroundings were  constantly changing, just like  the conditions of our personal lives do, both inside and outside. And the conditions of others, near and far, and dear.

Thanks to my hosts, for their incredible generosity. with their ‘patients’! I put my hand up to having been stress and tired when I first arrived from Manchester. Thankfully I was free to spend time just being – doing very little although there was sorting and hanging curtains…..

Now at the Dharmazuvlucht in the Black Forest, a temple of our order. Here till I move on to The Netherlands on 3rd March.

Merit Traveling – Merit Living

High up in the Black Forest this afternoon, bright sunshine. Snow. Hang gliders jumping off a bank into the wind. ‘Want a ride’? he said. I smiled as it was ‘obviously’ a joke, but it wasn’t! Needless to say I stayed on the ground. We do, after all, have a rule not to take unnecessary risks. Riding pillion on a hang gliding flight? I think not. So glad to be a monk.

Tonight my mind is very much focused on my underlying spiritual intention. For this trip and life in general. Ultimately all efforts to put that into words, fail. Enough to say one endeavours to do ones very best. Which involves a lot of not doing.

Join in with me and add our best efforts together

Merit Traveling

I fly to Germany from Manchester airport this evening and will be away visiting individual sangha and temples for approximately six weeks.

This post is for all those, known and unknown, who are in extremity.