This weekend I and my fellow monastic journeyman, Sosan, go to Wisconsin, to demonstrate our Zen insight and skills, and get feedback. If this were an action movie, we’d be going to headquarters for a check-in and debriefing before going on our mission. It kind of feels like that, and here is what it will consist of:
In 3.5 hours I’m on a plane to Milwaukee. The next morning a sangha mate, Kevala and I drive up to Appleton, leaving at 5AM. We’ll join the Zen River Sangha, a branch of Hollow Bones, for their weekly service and practice. I will sit “Tanto” (spiritual leader) during the morning service. I’ll then go to another room during the two meditation sessions to offer “daisan,” which is when a priest offers spiritual and practical coaching to individuals. Afterwards, I rejoin the group to give my first-ever dharma talk… what could be called a sermon, but which emphasizes expression and transmission of insight.
For the rest of the day and the following day, Sosan and I will facilitate people in the Mondo Zen process. We’ll go step by step, to be witnessed in how we facilitate and be given feedback. Sunday evening we’ll have a little send-off celebration, and Monday morning I take a 7AM flight home… resuming the process of selling my business and packing up my domestic life.
It is quite the whirlwind, a little adventure and I’m looking forward to it. The closer the day of actually going gets, the more I feel privileged for this opportunity. A number of people, Buddhist or not, have expressed envy to me, a sign of the symptom of a hyperactive society that wants to slow down but just doesn’t see how. Part of my life mission on this path is to support people in cultivating meditative awareness, so the stresses have less or no influence on them. Others have described my willingness to do this training as brave. Little by little, I get that. It’s a big change, and an even bigger commitment. But really, it is a commitment I made in May 2002 when I took lay vows, and again in January 2011 when I took priest vows. Going to DBZ for 1000 days is the most natural next step in my life. On one level it doesn’t even feel like a choice… it is happening like weather does, like water flows, like the sun crossing the sky.
At this juncture in my life, looking back I have to quote the Grateful Dead lyric, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” For today, I’m jumping in to a short strange trip, and then soon another long one, and another after that… Ah, Life; what a ride!