Marian Mountain

‘On one occasion I became very angry with Suzuki Roshi. The situation which ignited my anger is not important. It is enough to say that Roshi had made an administrative decision which I felt was completely wrong. I knew that if I allowed the matter to go unchallenged I would lose my respect for myself. This was during the period when I was living in my old hometown. One day I asked Roshi if I could speak with him privately. The two of us sat down, and I told Roshi exactly how I felt about his decision. I am the kind of person who doesn’t get angry very often, but when I do, the fire of anger burns hot. Roshi listened to my entire outburst without interrupting me. It took about twenty minutes. When all my feeling had been expressed completely, he said very quietly, “Thank you very much.” My respect for my teacher (right or wrong) increased immeasurably after this lesson. From that time on I realized the importance of cultivating the most effective emotional fire fighting tool of all – the cooling compassion of mature Zen Buddhism.’ (The Zen Environment)

As so often in this book, the lesson given is a subtle and important one.

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