What am I aiming at in Antaiji?
The answer is as simple as the actual life in Antaiji... Just let go!
This year I’ve spend 6 months between June and December in the Japanese mountains to get in touch with the harsh life at a Zen – monastery.
In the beginning my ambition was of course to practice Zazen, but also to work on a self sufficient farm, means to grow veggies and really be in touch with the fruits I eat from the very first step, and to live in harmony with a practicing community. The longer I stayed and got into daily life routine I saw that my ambitions from the beginning are all pointing out on this one thing! I have to let go in every moment, either it is thoughts and emotions coming up during Zazen, or my selfish opinion on how things should work out in the community.
My head is full of opinions about this and that. And yet it's just blowing up the ego.
In Antaiji we do a lot of Zazen, in average 5 hours a day, even though it's good for nothing. That's kind of completely dumb someone might say. And so I thought a lot of times, especially during those ridiculously long sesshin hours. Many times there was the thought that I want to stand up immediately and tell everyone how stupid they are to just sit there facing a white wall for hours and hours. But in fact I never did, somehow one's keep seated even though facing big pain or poignant emotions. So it happened quite often that I would just cry through a whole period of Zazen. Strong emotions like this appear out of nowhere and disappear into nowhere and my only task is to just let go.
Further not only Zazen is good for nothing but anything else in this world of matter is.
Identification and seeking for any sense in this existence just brings about confusion. I like these little snow globes which for me reflect perfectly our never-ending seeking.
Ever since I wanted to get something more than what just was, but it's like shaking this snow globe in this condition suddenly we're not able to see anything because the horizon is completely blurry and covered. Though in being still, remaining in silence the wonder happens: The snow gently falls down and what I can see in front of me is what really is.
We are living in an illusion. Yet it is a quite real illusion – and a very loud one. Our life today is so full of bustle and external distraction as never before in the history of mankind. It's almost as if everything was created specifically for us to be dragged into the outer drama to test us, to suck and capture us. The paradox is that all the external "entertainment" is often only a distorted reflection of that goal that everyone is looking for. This goal is a "place" of absolute perfection and crystal clear adroitness. It is unlimited potential but absolutely empty. It is the beginning, the end and everything in between. It is the void of silence.
"Being" is the question.
And "non-being" is the answer.
Because all "being" carries inside the question of the truth of life and of its own existence, which is only to be answered by the experience of non-being.
Breaking out to the mountains, being surrounded by pure nature is where I feel at home. Just like a deer would escape if it would be offered only an asphalt jungle. Experiencing a life plenty of nature and returning back as much as possible. This is living in unison with the earth and the community.
Thank you all for this extraordinary experience.