Monday, April 26, 2010


One of the things that always strikes me living at Zen Center is the fluid nature of sangha. Even in the winter at Tassajara, where a group of people stays together in the valley for three months at a time, at the end of the practice period there is always coming and going. Here in the city, people come and stay for a week, or maybe come to sit once, or hear a talk; others come every day for years. Each person contributes to the wholeness of the sangha, and to the vitality of the practice here at Zen Center. When people you care about leave, it is natural to feel sad, and yet I always have faith that they haven't completely disappeared from our lives, and when they come back, there is rejoicing. This has been happening recently with the influx of people from Tassajara: I notice that my first reaction when I see someone I have practised with in the past is always a joyful one, even if I don't feel especially close to that person. Often when we live together at Zen Center, our interactions are non-verbal, and this can give us a different sense of who someone is than you might get just from talking to them. I have mentioned before the different ways I see people entering the zendo, how they walk and how they bow, and how this says something about them. It speaks to the way practice connects us all, in ways that are not necessarily the same as our ordinary social connections, and I think even people who only visit Zen Center once get a sense of that.

1 comment:

Nedd said...

I have the same feeling. This morning we had two new people in the zendo (bringing the early morning number to five! - we have a small but faithful 5am group in the zendo every morning). It is always a cause to rejoice when new people encounter the teaching or just sit zazen and it is a pleasure to help them while they learn the ways of the zendo.