A life dedicated to service...

Week 44: What am I being given?

I apologize for the delay in writing. Went on sesshin at the monastery, a silent retreat on the theme of Gratitude. Several days of not speaking; instead sitting and walking meditation for hours on end, meals in silence, chanting morning noon, and night; short nights of (surprisingly refreshing) sleep, spot-on talks by two monastic teachers, both still in their 30s: such intelligence, such dedication!

Since returning home, it’s taken me several days to realize that I’m always at home — wherever I go, whatever I do, dead or alive. Japanese Master Dogen (1200-1253) taught, With every step I take, I am at home. Years ago one of my monastic teachers pointed to the snail who carries her home everywhere.

It’s customary during Zen retreats not to read or make notes, but to open the heart-mind and see what hits the mark; what sticks. Two sets of instructions by Adam Jogen Salzberg, Sensei did just that. I scribbled them on scraps of paper while hiding in the bathroom just before setting out at dawn on the six-hour drive back to catch the Port Angeles ferry. Did I break a rule? Yes, but only so that I could share his words with you here. They’re meant as ‘words of encouragement’ as you and I sit, stand, walk, sleep.

Sitting is already sufficient
No striving, judging, preferring
just this
just this
welcome everything
savour this moment
⇒ and then let it go.

and later

What am I being given, right now?
this seat, this body, this breath
what is the gift
freely available?
Not thinking or searching or constructing
being this moment
receiving, noting, feeling
⇒ and then let it go!

About the Author
Peter lives in Victoria, BC, where he volunteers in health-care. teaches mindfulness meditation, and offers end-of-life care.
  1. Kate Cone Reply

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing the wisdom. I have a huge issue with “where is my true home?” I will say Dogen’s mantra: “With every step I take, I am at home.”

  2. Arnie Reply

    Beautiful, thank you Dai Shin! I like to think of you clandestinely writing in the bathroom.

    From Nisgardata:
    “When I look inside and see that I am nothing, that is wisdom.
    When I look outside and see that I am everything, that is love.
    And between the two my life turns.”

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