11-21-08: APB to Oshos, Monks & Nuns!
MBZC is beginning to shift its attention from Seikan semi-formal training to formal training and winter Seichu. Goran, acting shoji, has turned his efforts to a Dai (super) clean of the cabins, and Jim Detweiler, acting tenzo, has a freezer stock full of lemon juice for Shoji and Densu tea. The cars are getting winterized (along with the students—Goran got a scarf and gloves in the mail last week), and we’re in the process of getting a large pile of gravel up here to combat icy steps. This is an exciting time of year for us, as it means Roshi will soon be returning, and camp will transform into a place of formal practice that includes sanzen.
Last night the MBZC staff enjoyed our traditional Harmony Day dinner, a chance for us to come together and celebrate the bonds we’ve formed through practice. I couldn’t help but put a damper on the occasion when I confessed that I was worried about our attendance numbers for the winter Dai Sesshins, especially with regards to the ordained. As Shika, I know the drill: a day or two before Hashinkyuji I will go into Roshi’s cabin with a list of people attending the upcoming Dai Sesshin. At the top of the list are Oshos, then monks and nuns, then students. For every Dai Sesshin retreat this winter save Rohatsu (which is also currently pretty light in attendance) the top two categories will be almost entirely blank. I’ll say something typically numbskull-ish, such as, “bad economy” in explanation, to which Roshi might reply “bad monks,” with a grin. Then there will be an awkward moment as he readjusts his expectations to fit the lower numbers. I don’t mean to try and guilt anyone into coming to Dai Sesshin this winter… well, actually, yes I do. APB to all oshos, monks and nuns: We’ve got a hundred and one year old Zen master putting forth a herculean effort to help us learn this practice! Join us for Dai Sesshins this winter if at all possible. Transformation of consciousness guaranteed or you get your hanryo payment back!
In all seriousness, we are very much looking forward to practicing with you this winter. Please do come, if at all possible.