Friday, May 22, 2009

Maezumi Roshi

"Maezumi Roshi" number 55 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

miniature is at first glance just plain autobiographical. Yet if taken
as a classical Zen story, the daily activities of a Zen master, it
begins to open up in surprising ways. Many of the old Zen stories take
the form of 'student' has question and runs to 'teacher', 'teacher'
says or does something seemingly insignificant and 'student' has
awakening. This is the form of this miniature.

As I sit with this miniature and take it in, a couple of themes came up for me.

First, realization and practice includes does not preclude confusion.

this old stories where student questions master and comes to
realization were more likely a much longer process in practice. With
practice and realization the student slowly develops a question or
aconfusion arises.  Effort to meet with a teacher is actualized within
the student's actual constellation of practice. If a kind teacher is
found, the teacher helps mature the student, again within their own
constellation of practice. Then if the stars all align, and the student
matures, the only thing left to do is practice and realization, the
activities that started this process, were the process itself and are
the path onward.

Such a kind message "...and I am eternally grateful." Yes indeed.

This came to me in my indox this morning and seemed relevant. It is from Tricycle's Daily Dharma delivered via email each morning. Recommended.
obsessive about quickly seeing big results from our efforts is a sign
that deluded desire rather than compassion is driving our efforts. Real
progress derives from honest introspection, and we cannot analyze our
minds carefully when we’re hurried. Transforming our hearts is a
gradual, organic process, and successfully cultivating compassion for
ourselves necessitates a mature and steady approach.
                           –Lorne Ladner, from The Lost Art of Compassion

I commented on the value of Right Speech. As practice would have it, I
promptly went to work and got on a conference call and proceeded to go
unconscious and use my speech in a powerfully negative way. I'll spare
you the details.. Even before I hung up, I woke up to my predicament
and there I was a bit embarrassed and a bit surprised like a deer
caught in headlights. "What had I just done?" In a way I am happy that
the lesson of Right Speech came to me in such a powerful way. This
points to my work. The important work of practice and realization.

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance. Any merit
generated by this activity is solely the result of Aitken Roshi's clear
teaching and is dedicated to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout
space and time.


  1. I love this awareness of learning. First we learn about Right Speech, and then we learn about the next layer of Right Speech and so it keeps going, and we continue to practice. We learn, too, that there isn't likely to be a One and Only Perfectly Right Speech, and still, by dribs and drabs, our awareness shows us a bit more about Right Speech.

  2. Thank you "Mother May I", who ever you are.

    Yes, this practice is made full by "dribs and drabs". That is the natural flow the things.

    I think it was Suzuki Shunryu Roshi that said that practice is like walking in the fog. You get wet little by little without even noticing. The suddenly we become aware that we are soaked to the bone!