Sunday, July 24, 2011

forgetting the basics

Yesterday, on the peace picket line, I was approached by one of the sometimes-odd-duck participants in the vigil. Without preamble, he began to tell me about a 93-year-old man he had been talking with -- a man who could no longer remember if he was hungry or thirsty or why, with an erection, he was hot for his wife. I replied that I thought he would either discover that he was hungry or he would drop dead.

Today in the zendo, the tale re-echoed in my mind. There I was, sitting half-lotus, incense burning, butt firmly placed on the zafu ... and I honest-to-goodness could not remember why I was there. I knew without effort that zazen was a seriously sensible thing to do, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember why.

The best I could do was rest in the effortless conviction that it was sensible ... until someone or something proved things were otherwise.

1 comment:

  1. A convicted sandstone bodhisattvaJuly 25, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    In an otherwise empty zendo no else os anyone around to remind you to pay attention instead of mulling over and glorifying meandering thoughts. Too bad!

    Perhaps this practice old Zuigan can help you.

    Every day Zuigan called out to himself: "Master?"
    Then he answered himself: "Yes, sir."
    And after that he added: "Wake up! Pay attention!"
    Again he answered: "Yes, sir."
    He would continue, "Do not be cheated by others. Do not deceive yourself."
    "Yes, sir," he answered again.

    - Case 12 in the Gateless Gate.
    Zuigan Calls Himself “Master”