One evening recently, while chanting, –œsentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them,– I felt a resonance not only with the bell but with an experience of vowing as trusting myself to show up and in that moment of presence, sensing myself and all of us showing up. It reminds me of Roshi’s practice during a street retreat last year of –œinclude everything.– She has encouraged us to explore different phrasings of our vows. Right now, –œshow up, include everything,– has a lovely ring to it, or perhaps, –œshow up for it all.–
This past year, due to a mix of politics and funding difficulties, I “lost” my job. Like many in this economy, I faced confusion, doubt, and strong feelings of aversion ranging from annoyance to full-blown rage. Formal practice kept me going. Coming to the zendo, facing the wall, meeting with Roshi and our other teachers, working on a koan, serving as needed and able: all these activities helped me move through the hurt and anger to its source, a fear of being alone or more precisely, a perception that –œI– am separate from –œyou.–
This perception kept me from trusting what is. I discovered that trust is not something fixed. It is noticing something true: everything changing, empty, and enlightening. I discovered beauty anew and felt the embrace of ordinary kindness. I asked for support and received it from family and friends, notably within our sangha. I’m grateful beyond words.
Asked to serve as shuso, I welcome this opportunity to support one another. Being alone is what we do on the cushion and we do it together. Each of us lives with limitations. How can you show up for yourself? How can you activate your capacity to be upright? How can you contribute to the functioning of our dharma body, this ever-changing zendo? Let us focus meticulous and continuous attention on three aspects of enlightening being: awake posture, true expression, and continuous practice. Please would you join as able in some or all the ango retreats as well as filling out an ango commitment form?
Bodhisattvas, what say we enjoy this wonderful way of living intimately?
Judy Seicho Fleischman