I sometimes ponder the advantages and disadvantages of doing "Dharma work" full time. On the one hand, there's less tug in another direction; on the other, anything – even temple work and Dharma-related things – can become another rut. Some Zen training centers insist that staff or ordaineds not have regular outside employment; some places, for financial or other reasons, require it.
Today I'm back at work after a two week break, and I find myself grateful to have this other facet to my life. The commute is long (I forgot after two weeks just how really long it is), and the politics of the place are the same (contracts came out while we were on break…), but I find I'm really excited to be back in the classroom, and I was on something of a roll during the first class of the day. I like interacting with my colleagues and my students, and I like watching the students get into something they probably thought they wouldn't be all that interested in.
But best of all, on the job I'm just another guy. And in my heart of hearts, I know that that is all that my Zen training is supposed to lead to: being completely just what I happen to be without the least trace or veneer (or stink) of "Zen". How could I ever get there if I never left the temple?