Sunday, 31 May 2009

Not dying?

I have no position on life after death and I struggle with the idea of reincarnation, but I heard a phrase recently which I have to say I like and it goes like this, "Death is not the opposite of life, it is the opposite of birth."

Cloud beating.

I go to a zazenkai in a local temple every Sunday. For some time I've struck the drum and bell to mark the start of the sitting and a thick, rectagular, wooden gong called a mopan to signal the end.

This week I was asked to strike another gong, only this one is made of metal and it doesn't chime very well. It's called an umpan, which is Japanese for cloud gong. I'm the only non-Japanese at the zazenkai and everyone complimented me profusely for my gonging. Even if I was particulary crap at it, they would still compliment me prefusely. If it was in Eiheiji, they'd kick me around the floor.