I walked against the stream in this river all of my life because I used to believe I did not deserve anything unless I suffered first. It was disheartening and often excruciating yet I always told myself Don’t be a wuss. Try a little harder and just a little longer. I did not acknowledge the pain and suffering for so many years because that would have meant admitting defeat.
One day, I found myself paralyzed in the stream. I could no longer move. Utterly exhausted, I had no strength or will left to step forward.
Just let go, said the voice.
Trust me, the river said.
When my son was born 20 years ago, I became very afraid of flying on air planes. It was not just a case of the jitters but more like curl-up-in-a-ball-and-miss-your- flight terror. While it is certainly possible to live a happy, fulfilling life without getting on an airplane, I started to doubt that I was re ally living from a place of clarity with this fear looming in the background. There was something just so off about how it ruled my behavior and, about nine months ago, my dis comfort with its constriction was becoming unbearable.Read more
Learning how to listen to, recognize and act upon my longing has pulled the strings of my discernment. This is how I have made decisions in my life about my life and my Zen practice. But I don’t always know this. And I have had to be patient. It almost feels like I am being discerned.Read more
NOTE: This July, Shugen Arnold Sensei made his annual trip to New Zealand to lead retreats and public programs with our substantial sangha there. He first visited NZ almost 30 years ago with Daido Loori Roshi and he and other teachers in the Order have been visiting ever since. In this blog post, sangha member Navina Clemerson shares her reflections on the sesshin that took place . To read an account of the public talk given by Shugen Sensei in Nelson, click here to read another post by Myokei Adams and Gensei Moore.Read more
The National Buddhist Prison Sangha (NBPS) is a branch of the MRO dedicated to supporting incarcerated women and men dedicated to the study of Zen Buddhism through a daily practice of zazen, Dharma study, and the moral and ethical teachings of Zen Buddhism. These contributions reflect the lives and sincere practice of many current NBPS members serving time as well as some who have been released.Read more
Attending a Buddhist festival in 1974 for me had many blessings. My two year old son was being cared for by dear friends, the drive to Boston with my husband John was sunny and pleasant, and the free admission to an education center was exciting. After participating in a meditation and lecture with Eido Roshi all morning, I was ready for a nap. The Japanese Tea Ceremony demonstration was at 2 pm so when I arrived early, I sat in the middle of the first row, closed my eyes and drifted off.Read more
The first time I heard about the Women’s March, I felt strongly moved to go. Still months away, I signed my name on the list. As the date drew nearer, I found myself feeling more and more trepidation. Why was I going? Couldn’t it be dangerous to be in Washington the day after such a contentious inauguration? Living at the monastery with little contact with the larger world, I felt cloistered and removed, distant from the myriad people directly affected by the climate of hate and violence brought forth with the emergence of the then president elect. And that is precisely why I had to go. I had to find a way to diminish what felt like a looming gap between me and “them”—the US citizens and non-citizens who suffer on the giving and/or receiving end of this nationally systemic culture of power and fear, intolerance and ignorance—that is, all of us.Read more
The changes in the liturgy—reciting the names of realized women and the switching of the word “patriarchs” to “ancestors”—have been gentle and welcome reminders to me of the role of women in the preservation of the Buddha Way and of the debt we owe to them. But what has affected me most profoundly has been attending the sesshins for women.Read more