‘The Wild, White Goose’ is the personal account of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett’s early years training as a monk in Japan. She was there in the 1960’s where she faced unimaginable hardships. Being both a woman and a foreigner and the time being relatively soon after WW2 all contributed to the way she was treated. And, I have to remind myself that she was there over forty years ago, a different time, a very different place and novice training IS testing were ever one is. I sometimes wonder if I would have been able to stay the course as she did during those years.
I still find it hard to read my teachers diaries, to mentally travel beside her through those grueling times. There were ‘warmer’, as well as ‘cooler’, moments of course. Two years on the run she was alone in her country temple on Christmas Day. She records, “I don’t think I can remember one which was more enjoyable.” Having visited that temple this year I can now picture her there. Simple temple, simple pleasures.
There is a poem at the start of the Introduction to ‘the Goose’, as we affectionately refer to Rev. Master’s book, and it goes thus:
Flying clouds in a flying sky,
I listen and hear the wild goose cry;
Peaceful eve but it’s no use
For I am sister to the wild, white goose.
My heart knows what the wild goose knows
For my heart goes where the wild goose goes;
Wild goose, sister goose, which is best,
The flying sky or a heart at rest?
I read the diaries for the first time over twenty five year ago and had no conscious thought of flying the same course as the author. However the call to take to the wide uncharted sky was strong enough to lift me up and follow her.