Dear Fellow Practitioners,
At the finish of my last Teisho at the Crosby sesshin in April, which Ken Jones & I shared leading, I summarised some of the reflections that had arisen for me out of the two talks I had given and the work in pairs led by Ken. Some folk asked for a copy of them and here they are with the rider that they came out of the week (Blocks and Pitfalls on the Way) and are not offered as absolutes.
I ended my talk by saying:
How do we embrace the opposing dual functions of acceptance and effort? For me it is by seeing they are both vital. Effort without acceptance leads to ideas of loss and gain and thus judgement and at worse suffering. Acceptance without effort leads to complacency and fatalism.
We are the ongoing sum of our actions and thoughts and as well it is hubris to imagine you have complete control over your life.
For example If you should fall ill it may be an outcome of your way of being or it could be simply a random event. It is a conceit to imagine you are solely responsible for your good or bad fortune.
The big judgements we make about ourselves (‘I’), good and paradoxically, especially the bad, are often ego centred and not objective.
Neither Zen practice or life in general will ever be what we want them to be. Reality is not interested in your view of how things should be! There is no problem free sphere of existence we can reach.
An important moral quetion to ask yourself is: Am I leading a self-centred or selfess life? Coupled with the question, ‘What allows me to function best and respond best to those around me?’
I would also like to add:
Most charitable organisations are suffering as a result of measures taken by the government in the last year. StoneWater Zen Centre Trust is no exception and we are having to tighten our belts and perhaps reconsider our plans for expansion in 2013. However, may I take this opportunity to really thank all of you who support us by a monthly standing order or a one off donation. There are even folk taking a holiday (temporary, I hope) from practice who continue to support us, a really most generous act. All of you keep us afloat and allow me to play my role and the Trustees to function without the stress of fretting about paying the Zendo rent and all the other overheads etc.
Thank you all again, many gasshos,