I have been telling people that this is my first free weekend in two months, but that means free from after lunch on Saturday - there was the usual seven hours of busyness first. The combination of the Full Moon Ceremony and oryoki was always going to cause timing problems; even though we finished zazen early, and had a very strong and energetic ceremony - thanks to Joan and Barbara - there was a delay getting breakfast downstairs, so we didn't get out of the zendo until 8:55. For me, that means barely time to drink coffee and pee before going back for zazen (it would be more expeditious if I didn't have to take off my okesa and koromo for the latter activity), for the meditation instructor - thanks Lien - it means having to wait before bringing people into the zendo and then having to hurry them through that part...
Joan and Barbara also did the doanryo honours for nenju, with Vicki as the doshi - with the board retreat at Tassajara, she and Blanche were holding the fort this morning. As I stood in the dining room with my head bowed, I watched everyone's feet as they passed in front of me, and thought that, although the head-lowering part is a normal gesture of respect, I like the fact that it also means that you can't necessarily see who is in front of you, so you can't start thinking, 'oh, I feel grateful to this person, but not so much to this one, and that one I don't like at all'. Except of course that in a community, it is easy to recognise someone from their footwear. Suzuki Roshi famously used to say that when everyone was wearing robes, as you do in the winter at Tassajara, then he could really see who each of them was. I had the experience there many times of just seeing somebody in the dark twenty yards away and immediately knowing who they were just from the sway of their body or the energy of their movement, and it was true as I watched people in the jundo today. Beyond the innate familiarity that comes of living and practising together, people can't help but reveal themselves in every action.
All of which brings me to blogs and links. This being the ino's blog, I try to keep it ino-related, though I know that my personality comes through in many different ways, most of which I hope I am aware of. Similarly, I wanted the blog list on the right just to be other inos' blogs. Now if Blogger were cleverer (and maybe if we move to Wordpress, as has been mooted by our web development people, this might be possible), I could divide my blog list into inos' blogs and other blogs I enjoy, most of which I have come across in the course of writing this and seeing who is reading it. For example there are some koan blogs I have discovered: the Shobogenzo Koan Workshop, and thence to the Koan Zone (where I was excited to discover the Kidlington sangha - if the dharma flourishes in deepest Oxfordshire, there is hope for us all).
More tangentially there is the Bike Snob, which is ino-related in that Greg, having mentioned the site to me some time ago, recently delighted me by giving me the book, which has been making me laugh in my off moments, and which may provide a subject for Study Hall yet. And I would like to plug again Sandy's Witterings, which I have been finding great value for money. I don't think I need to give Brad much of a plug, but I do read him from time to time. So if you find yourself subject to a wet and dreary afternoon such as we are having here, you could do much worse than spending time with these people.