16 December 2011

Circus Time

I'm gearing up for a weekend of hustle and bustle around the center as we receive a special visitor, the head of the lineage.  The soup for tomorrow's lunch is on the stove, and bedding and towels are in the washing machine.  I'll start the banana bread for the one-on-one meetings this afternoon, and in between I'll vacuum and do the second floor bathroom and kitchen.   Yesterday was given over first to hosting about 40 high school students in the zendo, only to turn around and get the zendo and Buddha Hall ready for 30 each for Sunday sitting and teisho.  I'll pick up a carry-out menu today to order tonight's dinner from, and some time tomorrow I'll give a thought or two to what I'll make for the Sunday potluck.

This is nothing at all to deal with compared to the seemingly infinite variety of hopes, expectations, fears, suspicions, adorations (my goodness, some of the fawning going on!) and fascinations I've heard expressed concerning the visit.  I'm really glad that my only job description for the entire weekend is to attend to the material conditions of the event.

Today I reminded those at morning sitting that in Zen we do not, like our Vajrayāna kin, take refuge in a teacher.  Taking refuge in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, we commit to stick to our practice through all the ups and downs, carnival sideshows and pageants, machinations and intrigue of such occasions.

"Only mu, bro," I reminded my Dharma brother and fellow resident yesterday when he offered he was dreading this weekend, "Only mu."  He texted back, "One finger."

I almost replied, "Make sure it's not the middle one," but I think he knew that already!

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