This is an edited, for easier readability on this blog, republishment of an article i did for the leaf newsletter, the original can be read here .
Hope you enjoy it.
The Treeleaf Teapartyby Fugen
It was a clear summer day, the heat still lingering as I sat in front of my computer with my robes on. I distinctly remember the warmth of the sun and the smell in the air that time when no one showed up at the Treeleaf Teaparty.
The Treeleaf teaparty is one of many features at the the Treeleaf sangha.It is on sunday evenings, hosted by one of the priests of Treeleaf and contains ceremonies, zazen and discussions amongst the participants. It started out as an meeting ground for the sangha, but has now grown into being one of its pillars. It has become an important part of what Treeleaf really is, a place where people care.
The Treeleaf Teaparty is a meeting place where you can, time and time again, get the opportunity to listen to people's stories, to be able to be there for them. As I have said time and again, The Treeleaf Teaparty is not about talking, it's about listening. About being there.The same goes, in my opinion, for Buddhism. To be there is essential.For me, it's not essential that anyone shows up or not. If someone does come, it's just extra. For me, it's essential that I do. Even if I can’t make it in the flesh, I can at least make it in my spirit. We have a saying at Treeleaf, ”we are always here,” that includes this.One of my goals for the Treeleaf Teaparty is that neither I, nor any of the priests of Treeleaf, is needed there. It should become an essential part of what Treeleaf, and life, is all about and live a life of its own. Someone should turn up, and no matter who it is, do the ceremonies, sit there and talk, listen, and just be.I got a glimpse of that the first time I couldn’t attend, and it sort of just followed that people stood up and took my place.Now, we are not there yet, where I or some other priest of Treeleaf is not needed at the Treeelaf Teaparty, but, hopefully, we'll get there. Soon.So what did I do, when no one showed up? I did the ceremonies, shut off my computer, and went in to sit, just for a moment, next to my sleeping son.
The most important thingTo get my son to sleepSoothing him through the strugglesThe most important thingJust thisThank you for your practice.May the force be with you,Fugen