Life of Carmen, Uncategorized, Upaya Zen Center, Zen & Dharma

Trainwreck in the zendo

I caused a minor trainwreck in the zendo yesterday during walking meditation. The vestments, the bows, the japanese lingo, the rhythms of gong and bell and clackers —all of this is new to me. I just follow along and when in doubt, gassho: bow. Bow to the plate, bow to the cushion, bow to the person in front of me, bow to the person beside me. Fingers tight together at nose level, elbows out, bend at the waist. Although, as Keisen the temple master gently explained, sometimes you’re actually not supposed to bow at all. Dang. Right foot into the zendo, he said, left foot out—Zen hoky-poky! I interjected—and he said yes, exactly. And then you turn yourself around. Always to the right. Except for when you go left.

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