onsdag 29 juni 2011

Empty boats and Joko Beck


Even though i'm no authority of any kind, a humble ordained Zen Priest in training, and just an modest fool at best, today i want to talk about boatlife.
So please read along.

Suppose we are out on a lake and it’s a bit foggy – not too foggy, but a bit foggy- and we’re rowing along in our little boat having a good time.  And then, all of a sudden, coming out of the fog, there’s this other rowboat and it’s heading right at us.  And… crash!  Well, for a second we’re really angry – what is that fool doing?  I just painted my boat!  And here he comes – crash! – right into it.  And then suddenly we notice that the rowboat is empty.  What happens to our anger?  Well, the anger collapses. . . I’ll just have to paint my boat again, that’s all.  But if that rowboat that hit ours had another person it it how would we react?  You know what would happen!  Now our encounters with life, with other people, with events are like being bumped by an empty rowboat.  But we don’t experience life that way.  We experience it as though there are people in that other rowboat and we’re really getting clobbered by them.  What am I talking about when I say that all of life is an encounter, a collision with an empty rowboat?  What’s that all about?
 from Everyday Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck (opening pandoras box chapter).

Now, you might think i will be elaborating about this story, but i won't really...
All i'll say is BOTH boats are empty.

Thank you Joko.
Thank you for your practice.


tisdag 28 juni 2011

Oh, happy day!

Even though i'm no authority of any kind, a humble ordained Zen Priest in training, and just an modest fool at best, today i want to talk about happy days.
So please read along.

I got told the other day, by an friend of mine, that it's an happy day when Jesus walks among us.
I turned to the man and said, he never left, he's right here.

You may not agree on all that's in the song 'Oh, happy day', but that he never left, that is one thing Buddhism has taught me, and maybe it's so...
So, Happy Day!!

And remember, when you smile, the whole universe smiles...

Thank you for your practice.

måndag 27 juni 2011

Buy an lotteryticket!


Even though i'm no authority of any kind, a humble ordained Zen Priest in training, and just an modest fool at best, today i want to talk about lotterytickets and falling.
So please read along.
A man walks in to a church and up to a statue of an saint, and begins to pray.
-Dear saint, please, please, let me win a million on the lottery!
He comes in and does the same thing the next day
-Dear saint, please, please, let me win a million on the lottery!
He continues to do this the next day and the next and the next for a whole year.
Suddenly, after an year, the statue comes alive, turns to the man and says:
-Please, please buy an lotteryticket!

Don't go around just wishing for things to happen, do something about it.
It is not until you actually do anything about it that something happens.
It is sometimes a mistake to climb;
it is always a mistake never even to make the attempt.
If you do not climb, you will not fall.
This is true.
But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall?
Sometimes you wake, and sometimes, yes, you die.
But there is a third alternative.
And sometimes, when you fall, you learn to fly.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Fables and Reflections
I would like to end with an quote from another master i really like, Master yoda:
Do or do not... there is no try.”
Thank you for your practice.

I used the first story above when i talked to an member of Treeleaf sangha, and thought i'd post it here, and if you know where it originates from, please tell me, since i have forgotten as i first heard it a long while back...

måndag 13 juni 2011

Creating something?


Even though i'm no authority of any kind, a humble ordained Zen Priest in training, and just an modest fool at best, today i want to talk about Pots.
So please read along.

A potterers work, when making an pot, is much like an Zenpractitioners,  creating something around nothing, and eventually, hopefully, seeing it.

In the end, its all good practice.
Thank you for your practice.


torsdag 2 juni 2011

A smile can take you a long way.


Before we go any further i would like to say that i have the consent from the person i am to speak about to write this, if there is such a person, and that he would like to commemorate this to all the good fathers out there.

Even though i'm no authority of any kind, a humble ordained Zen Priest, and just an modest fool at best, today i want to talk about Smiles.
So please read along.
Some years ago his wife left him and their 2 year old son.
She told him that she just needed time.
He  took care of the son and what needed doing and got an apartment with an room of his own for their son.
For the first three months since she left, she hardly had the son at all, except when her parents where present, and he let her have him whenever she wanted.
Suddenly he got an call from her lawyer saying she wanted single custody and that she wanted to move away from town with the kid.
So the process started, with her blaming him for everything, her family, their fríends almost everybody was on some point or another on his back, because he was ”the bad guy”.
They went to the socialservices for investigation, which took an year and a half. 
In the final report made by the socialsevices, they used patronizing language when writing about him including him being called a dominant, diminishing, cruel man who didn't let the mum see her child. 
All the while she went away for weeks, just to show up and pick up the kid whenever she wanted. 
He had him for almost 4/5ths of the time in those two years, she not even coming with to the dentist...
This and much more, along the same lines happened along the way.
He persevered and always did everything he could but you could see the fatigue growing in his eyes.

So came mothers day.
He and their son toiled with a mothersdaycard, the son picked it out and drew it and on mothers day they delivered it to her.
The son got a hug, he didn't even get an glance or an ”hi.”
Later on that day he got an message on his cellphone from her.
Fearing the worst, the usual yelling, which were more common than not, he looked at it.
It said ”thank you”.

When asked how he felt when he got the thank you textmessage, he smiled, and said ”You know, i was getting kind of fatigued, but now? Now i can go on forever.”

This might just be a story i concocted, who knows?
But i'll tell you this, the smile, that was something...

Writing this made me think of the old story about Hakuin and the baby, found for instance in Paul Reps "Zen flesh, Zen bones", but different versions is found all over the internet...
There was a monk named Hakuin who was well respected for his work among the people.
In the village, there lived a young woman, the daughter of the food sellers.
The young woman became pregnant by her boy friend who worked nearby in the fish market.
When the parents found out about this, they were very angry and pressured her to reveal the name of the father.
She wanted to protect the young man and blurted out the name of Hakuin as the father.
After the baby was born, the parents took the baby to Hakuin.
They told Hakuin that he was responsible for the baby and left the infant with him.
He responded: “Is that so?”
And he simply accepted the responsibility for the child without further reaction.
The monk had no experience with babies.
But he began to care for its needs, finding food, clothing, and warm shelter.
The other villagers became very angry with Hakuin for his offense and his reputation was trashed. These comments did not affect Hakuin, who continued to put his effort and attention into the care of the baby.
After several years, the young woman was filled with remorse.
She confessed to her parents the name of the true father.
They immediately went to see Hakuin, apologized, and took the baby back with them.
Hakuin watched as they returned to there home with the child he had cared for since birth and replied “Is that so?”

Now, you might say that both the stories are sad, and they might be, but they also tell of an great love and compassion.
Both of them took a beating for it, but continued on doing what needed doing, taking care of what needed doing, with, i believe, an allencompassing care, love and compassion and setting an example many would benefit to learn from.

Another thing both these stories tell us is that just because people ”knows” or says something is true doesn't make it so.
And no matter what your reputation is, no matter how much you're put down, it doesn't reflect the real you.
And it might be that the persons involved will never know what really happened, it doesn't matter. 
But what you do MATTERS.

And, between you and me, i believe there was an smile on Hakuin's face as they went away, and that smile, that was something ...