Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Early to bed,early to rise, makes a man healthy and wise

Or so the saying goes. Right now, I'm feeling pretty shabby. I've a cold which I caught sitting in the zendo this last couple of mornings, and I'm tired, so much so that I'll be in bed in a few minutes, by 10:30pm.  I'll be at the zendo again in the morning, but dressed a bit warmer. We'd a couple of nice warm days recently so I wore my samue, but the last couple of days saw colder mornings.

I've started treating the morning sittings, just like the weekly zazenkais. Well, as much as I can by myself. I strike the bell and drum to mark the start and the end, and I recite the Heart Sutra in the hondo (the main temple building), and then I get a buket of water and a cloth from the back room and clean the front of the hondo. Yesterday I washed the wooden porch and this morning I washed the doors and windows. I'm wondering what the monk thinks of this foreigner turning up every morning like this. I wish I could speak with him freely, but my Japanese is still woeful and his English is nil.

I felt embarrassed about hitting the drum and bell and cleaning the place, in fact also even going there by myself like this in case people were thinking I was being pious or whatever. I would prefer to be anonymous, but still I wanted the discipline of doing it. If I do it at home, chances are the kids would get up soon after I would and they'd be running around me as I tried to sit. So I've decided just to do what I think is best for my practice and let others do their thinking for themselves, rather than me guessing or speculating about what's going on in their heads. Anyway, it's bedtime here. Night, night.


  1. Thank you for this post. I agree, it doesn't really matter what other people are thinking. If you're honest with yourself and others, then it doesn't matter what other people are thinking. I think you've read this already but Dogen wrote something related to this:

    "In this country today, many students worry about the good and evil, and right and wrong, of their own speech and actions and wonder how others will react to what they see and hear. They are concerned about whether something they do will draw censure or bring praise now or in the future. This is a very bad state of affairs. What the world considers good is not necessarily good. It does not matter what other people think; let them call you a madman. If you spend your life with your mind in harmony with Buddhism and do nothing to offend against it, the views of other people do not matter in the least."

    Take care and thank you for your commitment to practice!

  2. Markus,

    This is an excellent quote from Dogen. Thanks for posting it here. I'll be reading it again and again so as to not forget. How easy it is to fall back into the ways of old ideas.