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honour thy self

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Two nights ago, well past midnight and restless, I got out of bed and single-handedly lugged a sectional sofa and a big wooden table from one room to another. Once that space was cleared, broom and mop went to work until the dark floorboards sat in quiet symmetry. Next, twelve meditation cushions and three chairs fell into place, then a small statue and a bowl with a year’s worth of incense ashes. Voilá! Last night 12 people entered my home to sit with just three seats to spare. How wonderful to look up and down the two rows of sitters as I rang the bell.

Afterwards, about to pass around the chant sheets, I noticed that I hadn’t made extra copies and said something about being a “bad monk.” Self-deprecating humour, a subtle putdown that obscured my humble delight. Take note!

Rumi says:

There is a way of breathing
that’s a shame and a suffocation
and there’s another way of expiring
a love breath,
that lets you open indefinitely.

image: Canadian poet and performer Leonard Jikan Cohen, then a Zen monk, ringing the bell at Mount Baldy Zen Center; credit


9 responses »

  1. Peter, it was a joy being in your zendo last night. Thank you for creating the space. Here is my blog address, as you asked:

    See you next week.

    • O that’s YOU! saw your name on a comment recently and enjoyed sitting next to you last night. it always adds zest to my practice when I’m next to someone who’s as dedicated as you are. Enjoyed reading your recent blog post — will take time to read more when I have time this weekend. There’s synergy in our endeavours.

  2. Rumi also says that “between right-doing and wrong-doing [ i.e. good and bad] there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

  3. build it and they will come…

    how wonderful peter!
    your generours offering so gratefully received

  4. This sounds wonderful. I can’t wait to get back to Victoria and see the new zendo! Once again thank you for your amazing generosity!

    • it’s my pleasure, rita, and that 10-year old vow, ‘to be of service.’ a full house makes up for the times I (a) feel cranky and want the house to myself, and (b) only one or two people show up and I wonder … bla, bla.

      look forward to see you soon.

      • when those “only one or two people show up” the same essence is lifted to heaven as from a group of 20……


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