Dana Velden

‘There is a famous Buddhist teaching about seeing a teacup as already broken. Even though it currently could be intact and firmly in our hands, the truth is that the cup we are holding is bound to break one day, or get lost, or even stop being a favorite. So that event, that breaking or losing, is inherent in the cup and in our relationship with the cup. This is true, actually, or all things in life and the world, since nothing is permanent.
This feeling of impermanence can lead us in two opposite directions. One is attachment, obsession, fear: This is precious, I must cling to it and protect it. The other is carelessness and indifference. If it is already broken, already lost to me, then what’s the use of caring?
So what to do? How to care about something on one hand and be completely free from attachment to it on the other? Tricky business, but not without a solution, another way of being: appreciation. Knowing the something is already broken can give rise to appreciating it here in the moment, just as it is.
And letting it shatter when it’s time for that too. When something has been deeply appreciated, it’s ironically a little easier to let it go and feel all the things that shattering brings: sadness, regret, nostalgia, even more appreciation.’ (Finding Yourself in the Kitchen)

Dana lived at City Center when I first arrived, and she was one of the people there whose presence and way of being encouraged me to trust the practice. She was so often kind, patient, generous, even if things weren’t going perfectly for her. I have a particularly fond memory of Sunday evenings around one of the tables in the dining room, where a group of us helped to sew a new okesa for Paul, I believe (it was the first zen sewing I had done, so I don’t think I was much help), while she read sections of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

One thought on “Dana Velden

  1. And these ‘things, the feeling of impermanence, the attachments, obsession, fear’ — using these as digging tools; all seems the perfect road to Self, I’ve said. Thanks very much for posting! Bowing ….


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