Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Old Teacher

"The Old Teacher" number 56 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Aitken Roshi prefers the title Robert Aitken. I prefer Aitken Roshi. It reminds me that while we both practice, I can trust his advice about my practice.

This reminds me of something I heard recently. In reference to the Buddha, don't seek what the Buddhas have, seek what they sought. Aitken Roshi's practice and realization is his practice and realization, mine is mine. I don't want his, I am responsible for being my own light.

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. So you don't trust people with out foreign titles?

  2. Domestic or foreign titles aren't relevant in my practice. Robert prefers Robert. Will prefers Will. Doesn't Jordan prefer Jordan?

    He is clear that he won't bestow the title of Roshi or "Old Boss" on anyone. For me, it is a upaya to remind me to watch closely, listen closely. For me Roshi is a term of endearment not one of holy authority. It can be given but not asked for.

    Trust is a funny word. Plenty of social baggage. Trust in this case is the willingness to take in advice and examine how it works in my life. Not blind faith but also not pure skepticism. Watch the small mind which doesn't want practice for its own survival.

    Many have travelled this path before me and I can learn a thing or two by watching. I also can avoid the pitfalls with eyes wide open. Maybe all this talk of Roshi is a pitfall. Let's look and see.

  3. Thank you for your kind comments and encouragements. Wall staring activities on the agenda.