Recently I have found myself thinking a lot (again) about the passages in the Shobogenzo Zuimonki where Dogen addresses his monks’ presumed fears about sufficiency. This paragraph is typical:’When one thinks about it, everyone has his allotted share of food and clothing while he is alive. It does not come from thinking about it; nor does one fail to get it because one does not seek for it. Laymen leave such matters to fate, while they concern themselves with loyalty and develop filial piety. How much less then should monks be governed by worldly concerns? Sakyamuni left the remaining portion of his life to his descendants, and the many devas give food and clothing in offering. Each person naturally recieves his allotted share in his life. He need not think of it, he need not search for it; the allotted portion is there. Even if you rush about in search of riches, what happens when death suddenly comes? Students should clear their minds of these non-essential things and concentrate on studying the Way.’
The last couple of months of last year were quite tight in terms of cash flow for me, as I had exhausted my meagre reserves on my trip to Europe. I got a Christmas bonus, and, apart from rushing out and buying some new winter socks, as all my old ones seemed to have vanished or worn out, I donated a third of it to a few organisations I wanted to support in their end-of-year drives.
And then I was on the receiving end of some end-of-year donations myself. One person I have known through Zen Center for some years replied to my thanks by saying, ‘My little teeny tiny contributions are inspired by the Macarthur grants wherein you get a (in this case, large) sum of money with no strings attached. I see it as a way of saying, “yes, we noticed what you are doing. Please keep it up”‘.
Between that boost, and some income from extra teaching I had been doing, suddenly I felt like I could relax around money for a while. Until my bike frame broke, at least. I had not got around to taking care of that, wanting to have my class prepared without too many distractions, and then while I was doing that, my laptop died. Luckily I had already emailed the handout to the reservations people at Zen Center, and even more luckily, I had been amassing my own notes in the Notes app, so I was able to read them from my iPad during the class. But it was another expense to take on. Having waited all week for an Apple Store appointment, the diagnostics session ended with a big ‘Failed’ message across the screen. I bought a new hard drive on Monday, and, having already installed one to replace the original a couple of years ago, I set about replacing that one…. Several hours later, I have still not got the new drive to behave in a way that will allow me to reboot from my back-up drive (more gratitude for the fact that I had done a full back-up a couple of days before the crash as part of my new year house-keeping – and if anyone reading knows how to get Disk Utility to bend to my will, please don’t hesitate to be in touch!).
So, having resisted doing this for days, and having run out of posts from the last time I sat down to prepare some, I am tapping this out on my iPad (having recently sold the wireless keyboard as part of an earlier bit of house-keeping, on the basis that I never used it…)
Perhaps the money I still have coming in will be enough to cover these expenses and next month’s rent. This has worked out for me several times before, and no doubt it will again. I am grateful for all the support that comes my way from many sources, and I do have my allotted share of food and clothing – even warm socks now – even if two of my four valuable possessions are out of action right now.