01 March 2012

More Admirable Friendship

As of January our Wednesday morning sittings are longer by a half hour.  There is a solid core of people who stay through that extra time, and yesterday was no exception.

I was monitor and timer, and at the end of the sitting, once we had chanted the Four Vows, we all stood for the prostrations.  As I was striking the bell through the prostrations, I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude for these people, for their commitment to the practice, for their dedication week in and week out.  As I hit the deadbeat at the end, while everyone was still in place, I blurted to the group, "You guys are the greatest."

My one Dharma brother called back, "Love you too, bro."  As people were putting their cushions away, a few hugs were exchanged.  Someone added, "We need a little more of that around here."

Yes, we do.  Yes, we do.  It's all too easy to take this all for granted, to take our Dharma brothers and sisters for granted, to take our personal and collective aspiration for granted.

We're not here for some technical tune-up (adjust your breath practice, demonstrate another in a long line of koans) before getting on our way.  We're here to become the men and women we most truly are, our original selves, and to really be that in all circumstances of our lives.

I have watched significant and profound transformation in people through their practice.  I have watched people pull out of nosedives of one kind or another.  I have watched people become, in sometimes the most endearing of ways, the incarnate form of enlightened mind – without them even knowing it!

I just bristle when I see "Zen" carried out in ways that do not begin to do justice to that hard work of transformation.  I get discouraged when I hear of "Zen" commodified and yuppified, denuded of its simple and utterly unremarkable power.

Most of all, though, I fret that I am not doing enough on my part to be whatever these brothers and sisters of mine need me to be.  I worry that I get too much in the way.  I regret everything I've ever said or done that has contributed in the least way to them questioning or doubting the path.  I lament my own lapses in effort and dedication and commitment.  I am remorseful for the times I've put myself before the Dharma.

May we all be at ease.  May we continue to do our best -- and better than our best!

May all beings be at ease.

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