24 June 2013

What to Do?

I recent came across a notice for an article in The New Yorker about a Buddhist monk in Japan who is doing good Dharma work by meeting with suicide planners and helping them open up to the possibility of actually living.

It resonated with me because here was an ordained doing something concrete at the point where people are suffering, and I have of late been contemplating ways in which I might do exactly the same.

It's one thing – and a very important one, of course – to work to make a practice center possible.  There is no getting around the paucity of places where one can show up and do the serious work of seeing into one's true nature.  Helping to keep a practice center's door open is a task I am all too grateful for and eager to perform.  I can honestly say I love the sangha here, warts and all, and I'm heartened to think I can be of service to them in however small a measure, with my warts and all.

But the sea of suffering is great, and the those who present themselves at our door are going to be few, few, few in number, indeed.  Can I not do something to be the voice of the Dharma among people who will never spend time on the mat, never attend a sesshin, never hear a teisho, never even smell the incense or hear the han?  Can I not be a Zen priest to them, even if it means not coming across as "a Zen priest"? 

I've done the math, and I'm happily convinced that there is no plausible alignment of conditions that could result in me being sanctioned as a Zen teacher.  None.  I could not be more relieved!   I take that as a kind of carte blanche to take the Dharma in any direction that is skillful and beneficial.

A variety of circumstances are moving me to a point where my life is going to have to shift from its present course.  Here is the top of the 100-foot flagpole.  Time to take a step!

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