Early this morning, on National Public Radio, a report from Kyoto about a Buddhist monk who, over a span of seven years, has walked the equivalent distance of once-around-the-globe by repeatedly circumambulating a nearby mountain. That done, he underwent another ordeal involving days upon days of staying awake in walking meditation, without food and little water, chanting and praying, until, near exhaustion, he had to be held upright by fellow monks. Now, back at his day job as temple priest to a small congregation, he speaks of having tasted — through direct experience — what it means to extinguish ego attachment and realize the interconnectedness of every/thing.
I’m inspired by this man’s undertaking. No, I’m not about to don white robes (to signal death and dying) or braid grass rope sandals (as he did), but I am pondering which bits of this story might fit into my little world. What, for example, am I grasping so tightly, can I let go off, can I die to? It what ways am I connected to all beings? And how does “just walking” and “just doing dishes” nourish my practice of awakening? And you — does any of this resonate?