Jido (France – Dax – 53 years)
After five years in a Tibetan center in France (Karma Ling in Savoie) and have found the path of Zen by Jacques Brosse, I desperately try to find a place to practice where I could live. Karma Ling was in stark contrast that, because it is rather a place to live where you can practice, but it is an option, especially not an obligation even less a necessity. Thanks to my Italian good friend Jiso with whom I spent a year in ??The Stella del Mattino?? near Milan, I discovered that there is a corresponding place in my aspirations, and that this place is Antaiji, the Temple of Peace.
So that I landed in this unique place, lost in the low mountains of the Hyogo region on Honshu island. Jiso who has lived for eight years told me about this long and I met upon my arrival in April 2010 was exactly what he had told me, only worse. Antaiji is the hell heavenly or the heaven devilish … Everything is more: the mosquitoes are bigger than elsewhere, small black flies smaller but voracious as nowhere more stifling heat, cold pricking more, work harder, zazen longer ! Even the other may be more difficult … not to mention that I am becoming more myself, but a different me, new one, more absent in the usual and more present in the natural, more aware of its limitations, its lack and its needs.
Everything is more, even time is faster or shorter … The days follow one another at a frenetic pace and between sunrise and sunset, a strange impression that nothing happened. In fact, this is the most strange here, nothing happens because everything is there when needed and where needed and the only thing worthwhile to be done is to accept that in recognizing it as quickly as possible. Antaiji is a continuum of present.
The first thing we need to learn is to let do or undo what is left is the same. Let themselves be. It is essential to abandon all its certainties to be constantly ready to live the moment as it occurs. Thus, everything becomes easy and the impossible happen in spite of yourself. “Impossible is not Antaiji” is what could be the motto of this temple. An example: I had the “chance” to study mechanics, but we can not say that it is for me a passion. Through them, I worked during eight years in Africa where I exercised a lot more in theory than in practice. But mechanics is like cycling, it can’t be forgotten and what I once learned makes sense here, away from everything, while maintaining what works with one engine becomes important. But between use and maintain, it seemed that there was a gulf difficult or impossible to fill … It was without Docho-san and the absolute trust he places in every person living with him ! A bulldozer, it has an engine, so it can be maintained and to use it, it’s simple : pulling this lever, it goes right, drawing on that one, it goes left. Well, now I have only to level this new rice field ! At first it was a little mess, but the more I was relaxing in this new experience, the better it was happening and at some point, it was as if the bull himself knew what he had to do. By late afternoon, it’s always impressive to watch what was done by asking who could have done that … not “me” anyway, because I am not able ! Another thing in Antaiji implements, and this other thing can not be described because it has to be experienced in live. That may be what we might call “the magic of the practice” that can happen without the magician, important not to be confused with the practice of the magic which has nothing to do with all that. Such examples could be mentioned in all tens, whether in the workshop, the fields or in the kitchen, always with the feeling that things happen by themselves and that we are only to assist in the accomplishment of what must be done. Finally, it seems to feel more and more in collaboration and in participation and less in action. One thing is now certain : the less I do, the better it is and this observation is valid in all fields starting with zazen, because at least I “do” zazen, the better it happens during zazen, in fact, pushing this reasoning, we can very quickly reach the conclusion that life itself can do without “me” and even the idea that I do, because it is better to live than to waste time to wonder why or how.
Being part of residents of Antaiji is an exorbitant privilege and it is up to us to ensure that this place continues for many years.
Great thanks to Docho-san and for his silent teaching that he provides continuously by example. Learning becomes easier here than elsewhere : just follow the example he set with ease, availability and generosity.
May his enlightened activity to increase the welfare of many.