Shundo Aoyama

‘When the abbot or any of the teachers is away from the temple for a week or so, the novices think nothing of it. But if there were no toilet paper, they would quickly feel its absence.’ (Zen Seeds)

This is my favourite line in the book, and says a lot about her modesty as the abbess of a temple. Those of us who live in community know how important practical details are, and as I have often related, my greatest fear as tenzo was running out of coffee. It did happen one morning, and I was grateful that I could run down to Safeway half a dozen blocks away for replenishment before anyone got too edgy.

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