With palms together,
Good Morning Everyone,
Yesterday was a wonderful day. Soku Shin entered the Order as a Novitiate Priest, the service and ceremony was extremely well attended (Soku Shin and I had to sit Zazen in the outer room!). We then went to lunch at the Village Inn and after that several folks came to the residence for coffee. The last person left at about 4ish and we were plain tuckered out. We watched a few episodes of “Saving Grace” on our DVD player (we do not have a TV) and sipped some wine.
Sometimes certain events just find a place in your heart, you know. Unsui and Shukke Tokudo are such moments. These are ceremonies where one takes lifelong vows, a very serious commitment. Soku Shin mentioned to me that speaking these vows aloud in a public ceremony was very moving. It is, indeed. To enter the priesthood is to leave service to the self and travel a path of service to the universe. All personal things must drop away. One must open one’s heart and take residence in the suffering of others.
In the “Saving Grace” episode we watched there was a father who dowsed his child with gasoline and lit him on fire. The father was vilified by all but “Earl,” the angel. My heart was with the child, with Grace, with all the officers enraged by the father’s despicable act, but it was also with the father who was suffering greatly himself. I think we gain the ability to be in the suffering of others through our practice and experience of actually working with those in great pain. One without the other is both hollow and shallow.
The danger of working with the suffering of others without practice is that we will tend to build walls around our heart, begin to hate those who inflict suffering, and in this, attempt to protect ourselves. No one wants to think fathers are capable of such atrocities. In truth, however, we are all capable under the right circumstances. Our practice allows us to see this by penetrating the delusion of duality.
Being one with the universe has significant implications.