Recently my wife and I have started a photography business. She’s been doing all of the portraiture and other amazing photography for us, and I have put up some of my more artistic creations as well. It’s nice to be able to share something like this, it is something that provides a creative outlet for Alex, and also helps to bring in some extra income as well. You can check out all of our work on our brand new website here.
And a grand ol’ tip of the hat to mister Anoki Casey for designing the logo and website for us. It was/is a great experience working with a pro like Anoki.
People come to Buddhism for all types of reasons, and apply the teachings in just as many ways. For some it serves a religious purpose, for some a “way of life”, others a philosophy and so on. Whatever it may be for you, it seems as if it would be quite useless if its only benefits were found in one location, one posture, one turn of a phrase. I too often see people talking about how “just sitting” is the path to enlightenment. Or that only the full lotus posture will do when sitting in zazen, or more importantly that zazen happens on a cushion.
While inching toward a full lotus posture and regular meditation schedule are invaluable tools on this crooked path of Zen, they will leave us out naked in the cold if we leave our practice there with them. I have no desire to take up a path that isn’t able to be carried everywhere I go. Zazen must be the manifestation of whole-hearted inquiry into that mind-stuff of Buddha nature, and Buddha nature is not trapped on my pillow.
I’ve mentioned that recently my life schedule has become more than full. As such, my practice must evolve if it is to survive. I have no wish to take up the path of Zen for the label alone, nor do I wish to take it up just for those 20 minutes I could sit on a pillow and stare at my bookcase. So right now what Adam’s Zen looks like is reading a sūtra a day, practicing the paramitas, and throwing myself into polynomial factoring-zazen.
I haven’t the time to meditate. It isn’t there. And even if I were to attempt it, I guarantee I would just fall asleep 30 seconds into it anyway. So I practice my zazen in Math class. I found that I was making silly, elementary mistakes with some of the problems that were coming up because I was rushing or not checking my work or some other mindless reason. Now I make sure and breathe the problems in, and breathe the problems out. It is helping my studies, and further more it is helping me glimpse at my monkey mind and find the cause of its monkey-nature. It is something quite unexpected.
This is something new for me, being able to see my self for the monkey that it is. In the past I’ve found it is easy to let that monkey turn into a stubborn ape, and when that happens it can seem as though hope is lost. That you’ll never be able to penetrate deep inside the luminous cavern of Buddha nature as long as that damn dirty ape stands in the way. But I’m seeing that ape less and less these days.
So this is where I will take Zen, and where Zen will take me for now. Off to math class I go.
Yesterday much to my surprise I found that this blog is a finalist for a “Best ‘Life’ Blog” Blogisattva award. I am very much in shock and extremely humbled by this. I am also really excited that I’ve been nominated along some of my favorite blogs:
- Cheerio Road – Blogger: Karen Maezen Miller – Karen is an accomplished writer and speaks to the many of us that struggle with bringing Buddhist practice into our daily lives. (gee, wonder who is going to win this one?! lol)
- Digital Zendo – Blogger: Jaye Seiho Morris – Jaye’s writing comes directly from his heart. He is lay-ordained in the Rinzai tradition, and I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with him through email and twitter, and I really enjoy his perspective. He defines Zen as “unification of heart-mind” which is something I profoundly appreciate.
- Mind Deep – Blogger: Marguerite Manteau-Rao – Marguerite is another blogger writing from heart to heart on everything from her experience with death and hospice to bringing wonderful women teachers into a brighter light.
- The Buddhist Blog – Blogger: James Ure – for me, Jame’s blog will always be my “gateway” blog. His was the first dharma-flavored blog I read and it was there that I found many of my other favorite blogs.
The title “life” blog got me thinking. Each one of these blogs I read just about each time they post. But to say that I know any of these people would be wrong view. I have no real idea who these people are, or anything about their “lives”. I only ever get just a slice. And you, reading this now, only ever get a tiny slice of my life here. You have no idea what my life is really like, but only what I want you to think about it, because it is all filtered in that way (consciously or not). There is so much more that never even gets mentioned. There are a few bloggers that I also keep up fairly regular email correspondence with, but to say that I know what it would be like to share a beer or argument or special moment face to face with any of those people would again be false.
But I don’t think it’s pointless or worthless or of no value to connect with these people. I think the category “life” is a perfect one to have up there. We may only get a slice here and there, but the experiences these people share when they’ve touched those slices can be of incredible importance. I can relate to each one of the above bloggers in one way or another, and for that connectedness I am grateful. I will never be as connected to them as I am my wife or children, but their accounts reach out to ensure all of us readers that mistakes can be met with success, but it doesn’t always end up that way (and that’s okay too sometimes). We also find through their writing that our experiences with the dharma are ever evolving and colored by our real-life experiences; which are then colored by our contact with the dharma.
I can honestly say that when the winners are announced tomorrow that I already consider myself a “winner” in some respect. Just the fact that I’ve been put up with such great company means to me that blogging about my practice, perspective and struggles can be of benefit to both others and myself. Recognition for that alone is wonderful, and for that I am grateful.
If you haven’t checked out the Blogisattva site yet, please do. As I’ve said before this award process is really about having some fun and discovering some new blogs. Many of the blogs that I regularly read were nominated or received honorable mentions, and I was also able to discover quite a few new blogs that I’ve added to my reader. Congrats to all those nominated, and thank you to all who continue to share your experiences with the world.