Yearbook 2007


Seikan (Australia, 45yo, Acupuncturist)

Memories of Now

There is a large nail jutting out from the wall right before my eyes. It is my name plate would hang were I here for more than six months. Where I am is in the sodo(monk's hall) at Myokoji monastery. Ten or twenty of us, depending on what day it is, are sitting zazen here in the mornings and evenings, together alone. I bow to my bare nail in appreciation that it reminds me just to sit straight, and neither embellish it, nor start nodding off(it could actually be dangerous if I did).

It is unseasonally hot and humid. There are sounds from several electric fans running at full speed, unsui cracking the fingerjoints or scratching their heads, and occasional slaps of the kyôsaku. Outside are jet airplanes flying in and out of nearby Fukuoka Airport. Raising my eyes only a little above the nail, I see a 747 floating huge across my view out through a small window. Wherever this plane may be headed, I manage to let it go.

As I now write this down, I am wondering to myself whether zazen is actually ever memorable? From my experience, I am not sure that it is. But I am reminded of a passage in Uchiyama Roshi's Opening the Hand of Thought where he quotes Sekitô Kisen on the meaning of the buddha-dharma(from Dôgen's Sanbyaku-soku/Commentary on Three Hundred Koans):

Sekito: "No gaining, no knowing."
Tenno: "Can you say anything further?"
Sekito: "The expansive sky does not obstruct the floating white clouds"...

Nor indeed thundering airplanes!

Gasshô, Seikan Cech

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