No. 8
February 1st, 2002

Change 'n' flow, flow 'n' change continued

In these "Ruten - change&flow" letters I have been talking a lot about "change and flow", "letting go" or "satori meaning to lose". It is funny that still I didn't think that the flow of change would hit myself so soon.
When I came to Osaka castle park last September, I started to visit an internet cafe nearby, where I translated Sawaki Roshi's "Zen ni kike (To you: listen to Zen)" and made it public on my homepage. It took me four months to complete the translation, and on January 10th I had done the final up-date: "An dich", the German version of "Zen ni kike" was on line. You can imagine that I doubted my ears than I received that call on my cell phone in my tent the next morning: "I can't find your homepage, it has disappeared!"

How could my homepage possibly disappear? I sat on my bicycle and went to the internet cafe right at once, just to find what I had heard: The homepage was gone. "Sorry, this page is not available."
What has happened? I have no idea, the only thing I know is that the translation that I worked on for four months, just as the rest of the homepage, is lost in cyber space.

Well, it is not that I lost a limb of my body, nor a good friend. As I worked in the internet cafe for free, I did not even lose any money. I only lost something "virtual", a homepage of a couple mega bytes or so. Still, when I saw this "Sorry, this page is not available", I began to sweat and doubt my eyes. Living in a tent, I possess neither my own computer nor any floppies or CDs. I have no back-ups of the work I have done, only what is in the Geocities filemanager, and that is empty! The translation is supposed to be published in Germany soon, but with no files - no publication! All the energy and time I invested during the day time of these last four months - basically all I did except for the two hours daily of morning Zazen - disappeared like foam on water.

Now I finally know what all my talk about "change and flow", "letting go" or "losing" was all about. It feels almost like a little realization of Buddha Dharma... But didn't I know all this right from the start?

I build a little shag on the moat where I live around New Year's. I build a floor from railroad ties and boards and have 18 tatamis covering it, quite a lot of space for Zazen and Kinhin and the breakfast chats afterwards. And with a transparent plastic roof also warmer and drier than before! Of course I know that this shag won't stand there forever. Sooner or later it will be removed by the park authorities, but now that I have build it, I have already become attached. I was not so worried about having to move out of the park when I was still living in the tent, but now, especially as the Soccer World Cup is approaching, I doubt that I will get away with this monument here sitting in the center of the city. I already lost my virtual "home"page, and it will be only a question of time when I will lose my real "homeless" home.

I know it, but I hate it. Shakyamuni Buddha tought that even his own teaching will not last forever. The essence of the teaching will be forgotten first, and gradually people will start to imitate only the outside form of what is considered to be "Buddhism". 2500 years ago, Shakyamuni already prophesized the present state of Buddhism: People dressing up as priests, going through the movements of "Buddhist" rituals and services. And, according to the Buddha, even this skin-deep Buddhism will one day disappear tracelessly... how then can I possibly complain about those four months work having disappeared in cyber space? It is nothing. Buddhism is disappearing. Let us use the present moment to create just one more picture of a new Buddhism of flow and change.