Every weekday a bunch of people (Sangha) meet via Zoom to sit, to share, and to learn about Thiên Buddhism. When we check-in, we rotate who leads the check-in, and the leader can pick a “question of the day” to add to the usual sharing gratitude and metta. (Loving kindness) A few days ago, our seafaring Mary came up with a wonderful question for our morning check-in. “What do you do with seashells that you find at the beach?” Fun question! Of course I had to play show-and-tell with the conch shell I picked up off the seabed floor in the British Virgin Islands years ago when I worked on a 47′ sailboat. The next day, I received the following email from a fellow Sangha-member:
Mar 8, 2023, 8:44 PM (11 hours ago)
to Mount, scott
Mary asked what do we do with shells we find….look what i stumbled upon in random non randomness
see u in the morning!
This brought to mind one issue on which Thay Kozen, my teacher, and I diverge. I tend towards believing that coincidences* are just that, coincidences. Thay leans more towards believing that coincidences are more Dharma’s interconnectedness, fate, or Karma. This idea of no-coincidences used to make my head explode just a little bit. I find it fascinating that the energy level I feel in reaction to this idea of no-coincidences has softened through the years, and occasionally I find myself wondering if some coincidence is indeed, not a coincidence. I marvel at the change. I’ve come to enjoy change, it makes the journey an adventure rather than a struggle. I bow to you, Change.
* Dr. Persi Diaconis, cited in the article, is an old family friend.