So, my first night at the Ashram began a series named "Social Engagement," led by a pair of speakers named Roshi Bernie Glassman and Roshi Eve Myonen Marko ("Roshi" is a title in Zen Buddhism that means "old teacher" and denotes a person who gives spiritual guidance to a Zen congregation). The pair, obviously once both Jews in their past lives, were now Zen Buddhists, and had founded the Zen Peacemaker movement in America. You can look on their site if you want more information, because I don't really remember it. Nor was I entertaining the idea of a conversion to Zen Buddhism, so I can't stay it lingered in my mind for very long, although it was very interesting.
What did linger in my mind was something Roshi Eve mentioned about the 10,000 Dharmas of Buddhism. I don't know exactly what they are...a google search turned up a site that says:
To Study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to drop the self. To drop the self is to be awakened by the ten thousand dharmas. To be awakened by the ten thousand dharmas is to free one’s body/mind and those of others. No trace of attachment to the awakening remains, and this non-attachment to awakening continues forever.
|Thinking about more than what's for lunch. Like...what's for snack.|
Roshi Eve compared this practice to people and life. Each experience, she reasoned, helps to shape who you are, and what you are about, and in turn allows you to see a clearer picture of yourself. Roshi Eve actually used the term Dharmas, but since I'm not a zen Buddhist and this is my retelling of it, I'm going to use the word experiences, because that's how I apply it.
The second she finished her explanation, I realized I'd heard words of extreme insight. How often do we say things such as "you can't know a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes," and other things like this? Sure, I have a pretty clear picture of who I am...after all, I've been walking in my own damn shoes for 28 years. But do I have a complete picture?
Since I've been traveling, I am continually learning things about myself, for better or for worse. Some things I love, while some things are definitely areas for improvement. Each offers an opportunity for self-reflection, and I appreciate the visual offered to me by Roshi Eve that I believe helps to facilitate this type of introspection.
Occasionally you'll see me tag something with "10000 Dharmas." That means I felt like it was a new experience that shaped me, or helped me to learn something new about myself. I'll try to isolate these posts instead of lumping them in with all my other blabber, in case you're as curious as I am about how this odyssey of sorts is making a difference in my life. Because that's what it's all about, right?