To help keep Joshu Roshi’s teaching alive and vital, we have invited Rinzai Ji Oshos and monks to contribute small musings on Zen practice, teaching, and insight.
Shozan Marc Joslyn Osho.
Shozan Marc Joslyn Osho. Shozan Marc Joslyn became a student of Sasaki Roshi in 1964. Together with several other people, Shozan helped establish the first Rinzai Zen center on Cimarron Street in Los Angeles. In 1970, Shozan with Dan Sunada established Mt. Baldy Zen Center in the San Bernardino Mountains, east of Los Angeles. Shozan was ordained as a monk in 1972 and as an Osho in 1982.
One morning during a Sesshin at MBZC Roshi gave a particularly intense Teisho on the theme of being ‘hung up’ either because one has to get or achieve something or because one has to avoid or get rid of something. True self-embraces everything, he emphasized, and true self cannot be fully or absolutely experienced as long as there is something which one lacks or has in excess. True self is ‘perfect’
While accompanying him back to his cabin after the Teisho, and passing the work cabin on the side of the way, Roshi paused, then went up to the entrance of the cabin to look at something. It was a particularly crisp, clear morning and hanging from the southwest of the eave, swaying in a gentle breeze, was a large, glistening, dew-laden spider web. I had never before seen such a huge, beautifully constructed web. Roshi also seemed impressed. But he commented abruptly “Roshi dislikes spiders!” in seeming contradiction to the Teisho he had just given. He cast a sharp look as if hitting me as if to say “understand?”
Roshi was demonstrating non-discriminating discrimination, that disliking spiders was not absolute, not in contradiction to his Teisho, that Zen practice does not demand that we live without preferences like angels or machines. Trying to gain ‘emptiness’ or to root out one’s likes and dislikes only results in attachment to non-attachment, in egoful pretense of egolessness. To see our human preferences for what they are with no effort to gain or get rid of anything is to trust True Self to relieve us of the phony absoluteness of this or that fixed notion.