It is invariably true that there are many more things that float around in the mind of sesshin than end up washed on the shore when it is all over, which is why I often don't feel like writing much after sesshin is finished. Among the myriad things that came my way from elsewhere: notes about drains, earplugs, serving crews, protocol, the one-day sitting, illnesses, absences. Internally, I had some spacious time on day two, but otherwise there were a lot of details to take care of for today's one-day sitting, and for a while yesterday I got kind of grumpy when I felt other people weren't doing certain things in a way that I found helpful or supportive.
I was going to articulate some of that in the shosan that we concluded with this afternoon, but Paul jumped in with a question for me almost before I had opened my mouth - he knew what had been going on, and wanted to stop me leaning on it. But by then it was feeling old anyway. And I got my own back at the end of the ceremony when he was thanking people, and expressed his appreciation for how I had been trying to make order out of everything. "Trying?" I cut in, a little archly.
As I have discovered at other times in the community, a reputation, once gained, is hard to shed. On the first morning of sesshin, I saw a package with my name on it outside the front office. Inside, an envelope had a quote from the sesshin admonitions: "Between meals, try to eat exclusively what is offered by the kitchen". On the card was written "Today the kitchen is offering chocolate", continued inside with "The Tenzo invites you to enjoy one chocolate for each day of your sesshin. Additional chocolates are provided for the days when two chocolates are necessary in order to be...one who is wise, who seeks the good and has obtained peace". There was with this a very fine, even artisanal, selection of chocolates. I haven't figured out who this gift came from: the writing is different from other cards I have received recently - I don't think it was the tenzo either - though the references to both the admonitions and the Loving Kindness Meditation, which we have just looked at in Young Urban Zen, would seem to narrow the field down somewhat.
I can report that I managed not to succumb to that particular temptation, and that two more chocolate offerings appeared today as well, only one of which I have eaten. There was chocolate cake for the final dinner to boot, of which I have saved an extra portion for after my bike ride tomorrow. This is what remains at the end of sesshin.