‘Uchiyama Roshi wrote that if we cannot sit zazen, simply waiting is a good enough substitute. Because, if I’m really honest, a lot of my zazen is just sitting and waiting for the bell to ring. (God, that sounds horrible. Am I doing this all wrong?)’ (Bow First, Ask Questions Later)
My time at Wilbur felt like a retreat, as it seems to more and more these days. Apart from a lot of silence and a fair amount of sitting, I did get a lot of reading done – thanks to my wonderful benefactors who not only loaned me a car, but also a couple of books that I have been meaning to read (I do feel bad for not supporting the authors by buying my own copy, since I know both of them – Zenju’s newest book being the other).
In any case, I was delighted to read Gesshin’s book, and got through it in about half a day. There was so much to enjoy about her honesty (as above), understanding and view of practice, even though her training has differed from mine almost completely. I can certainly relate to the passage above, from all my years at Tassajara.
In the book she talks about meeting Brad Warner at Tassajara in 2014, and I think I was there at that time (in the ‘small world’ department, this was also when I first met these benefactors, who were big fans of Brad but had not met him until then; they are also now big fans of Gesshin). I remember seeing a rakusu hanging outside the zendo bathroom that had obviously been inscribed by a Japanese teacher, so I asked her about it.
I wouldn’t say I know her well, but I met her a few more times before she moved to LA, and I am glad she is apparently back in the Bay Area with Gensan. If you haven’t come across her blog, I encourage you to read it, as it is way more entertaining than this one. I shall be making my best effort to be at her event at Zen Center at the end of August.