I’m not sure why I felt the urge to share this with you, but I am, and that’s good enough for me. But this post by the administrator of a Facebook Group about Zen caught my attention. (see below) I browse a handful of Facebook groups related to Buddhism. I’m drawn to learn more about how people struggle with their path, about their confusion, and about their understanding of the path. I find it fascinating. And so relatable. I’m drawn to this in hopes it will help me be a better teacher when the opportunity arises to gently point someone towards the moon.
I see so many people posting on Facebook with questions about whether this way or that way is the “right” way to do things. And I see so many people posting answers filled with conviction that this, that, or the other is the best way to practice. I see so many people posting questions about sutras or texts seemingly in search for answers. And of course, it was not that long ago that I had all of these same struggles. Particularly trying to figure things out and find answers to all my myriad questions. And of course, now I still have struggles. But they are softer and easier to handle.
I recently reflected on that first retreat I went to at Great Vow Zen Monastery. Hogen Bays, Roshi asked me about my practice. I said, “Zen?” I had no clue what the question was. I reflect on this question from time to time, and what arises is, “It’s perfect just the way it is.” It’s different from what it was yesterday, and it’s different from what it will be tomorrow. Things happen that once brought me great suffering and self doubt. These same things happen and I sometimes feel sadness, or sometimes I just laugh. But whether sadness or laughter, it’s more peaceful. As Howard Roark said in response to a question about whether some situation hurt him, “Yes, but the pain only goes down so deep.” I am grateful for my practice. It’s just what I do. It’s not a means to an end. It’s just what I do. Am I doing it right? Or wrong? I don’t even understand these questions. Though I do laugh at myself when I sit on my pillow and notice that I had neglected to bow to my pillow and bow to the sangha. And then I resolve to remember tomorrow. And then I forget again. Haha…
So where am I going with this? I have no clue. I’m just very grateful.