Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Last night the zafus were all in place

...but nobody came.

That happens of course. I’ve always promised myself that I would continue as usual. The zabutons and zafus were all arranged anyway, although I didn’t move the altar. It’s a two-person operation. So I sat for two long periods with a nice longish kinhin, doing the rinzai boogie to see how the faster pace felt on my old legs. The sitting was fine. I chanted the Maka Hanya Haramita. My voice loud in the big room. The bell. A lost grackle outside the door gave the dharma talk. I don’t speak grackle but I enjoyed the rhythms of what she had to say. The tea was delicious. I got to go home a little early. The moon rising from the east through those strings of clouds.

Still, I’m thinking that Tuesday nights are not the best time for folks who like to sit on zafus and do nothing. Attendance has been low since July. Three or four usually. Besides, there’s the $100 a month to the UUCEP. I’m thinking of moving our makings to my home. I have a nice but small office outback which we would have to share with my desk. Our sitting space would be organized among the helter-skelter, but I think we could manage five or six sitters pretty comfortable. We’d kinhin outside. Or we could move downtown to the Cinco Puntos office. Plenty of space at CPP.

My question to all: What would be a good time for you? I’m thinking Sunday 9am or 10am and also a morning sit on Wednesdays, 630am. Mondays don’t work for me for family reasons, and Tuesdays don’t seem to be working. Wednesday and Thursday nights are also possibilities. Likewise our old time of Saturday afternoons.

Finally, if you don’t want to receive these emails, that’s cool. Just tell me.

I hope you’re all well.

Bobby Kankin
915-241-3140 Cell
915-838-1625 Office

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor

At the end of his book Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, Stephen Batchelor speaks about a secular religion, a beliefless practice, although he understands the contradictory nature of the terms. For me it's a concept that rattles around in my head and heart in the mornings as I prepare to sit and stare at the wall. Settles there while I become quiet sitting on my zafu. I don't need to think about it then. I just need to breathe. It's afterward, that I can take up these questions. This morning, for instance, reading Dogen's Genjo-koan. The light of the moon reflected fully on a tiny drop of morning dew hanging from a blade of grass.  

Below are quotes from page 237 of Confession:

"The point is not to abandon all institutions and dogmas but to find a way to live with them more ironically, to appreciate them for what they are—the play of the human mind in its endless quest for connection and meaning—rather than timeless entities ruthlessly defended or forcibly imposed.
What is it in Gotama’s teaching that is distinctively his own? There are four elements of the Dharma that cannot be derived from the Indian culture of his time. These are
  1. The principle of “this conditionality, conditioned arising.”
  2. The process of the Four Noble Truths.
  3. The practice of mindful awareness.
  4. The power of self-reliance.

Sit well. Hold the sky up with the tip of your head.
Bobby Kankin