Maura O’Halloran

‘Kneeling in dokusan, the smell of incense sitting heavily in the air, made everything seem old and already cured by time, as if it all didn’t matter. He was glowing, enraptured in the excitement of his plan for me and my children, he and his “baby”, Kannonji. I found myself nodding – everything, anything was okay. Then I caught myself. Wait, hold it, no, that’s not what I want. Stop. I thought of my ego, of discriminating consciousness, etc., but still, it’s not the life for me. I told Tachibana Sensei that in Japan people don’t  want to do zazen; in Ireland they do. I wanted to build a dojo over there. Sensei was squirming in his seat; he obviously didn’t want to be the one to present Go Roshi with disappointing news and asked why I didn’t call everyone over here. That’s all I needed, him confounding me when I was so reluctant and so insistent. Go Roshi was laughing, said I was a plane and could fly to Ireland.’ (Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind)

This is another book on Japanese monastic practice that I have read several times during my own training, in several editions. The author’s dedication to practice, and the intimate nature of her writings, have made her an inspiration to many – if you haven’t read the book, I urge you to do so. It is also rendered incredibly poignant by the ‘what-if’ of her untimely death.

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